The Appointment by Herta Müller (tr. Michael Hulse & Philip Boehm)

book 'the appointment' and black coffee on table

a nutshell: this is a disorienting stream of consciousness from a factory worker under Ceaușescu’s regime as she makes her way to an interrogation

a line: “The trick is not to go mad”

an image: when she’s summoned for questioning, the narrator describes the humiliating feeling of how her whole body feels like it’s barefoot

a thought: an obsessiveness about keeping or revealing secrets is an ongoing element; a friend says secrets don’t go away when you tell them since you tell the shells, not the kernel, but the narrator believes if she doesn’t keep something concealed then she’s already exposed the kernel

a fact: in 2009, the Swedish Academy awarded Müller the Nobel Prize in Literature, describing her as someone “who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed

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