April 09 , 2010

The Passport


'Just as the father in the house in which we live is our father, so Comrade Nicolae Ceausescu is the father of our country. And just as the mother in the house in which we live is our mother, so Comrade Elena Ceausescu is the mother of our country. Comrade Nicolae Ceasescu is the father of our children. All the children love comrade Nicolae and comrade Elena, because they are their parents.'

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The Passport is a beautiful, haunting novel whose subject is a German village in Romania caught between the stifling hopelessness of Ceaucescu's dictatorship and the glittering temptations of the West. Stories from the past are woven together with the problems Windisch, the village miller, faces after he applies for permission to migrate to West Germany. Herta Müller describes with poetic attention the dreams and superstitions, conflicts and oppression of a forgotten region, the Banat, in the Danube Plain. In sparse, poetic language, Herta Müller captures the forlorn plight of a trapped people.

Translated by Martin Chalmers. With a new foreword by Paul Bailey.

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