Nadirs by Herta muller

Nadirs by Herta Muller

German Fiction

translator Sieglinde Lug

Nadirs published under the title Niederungen was her debut collection from the Nobel prize winning German writer ,it was published by University of Nebraska press and was the first to be translated into English  .Like the other book Passport , I ve read by Herta Muller  it is again set in the romania of her youth (she was born and grew up in Banat the german speaking area ).The book is formed of one long almost novella length story that of the title Nadirs and then 13 shorter stories som less than a page  ,I will leave nadirs for you to read  and mention a couple of the short piece .One I loved was Swabian Bath at just over a page long it descibes a family having the weekly bath in front of the fire .as we see the family one after another jump in the bath .

Grampa must be in the bathtub ,Gandma thinks .Grandma closes the bathroom door behind her. Grandpa drains the bathwaterfrom the bath the little gray rolls of mother, of father ,of grandma and of granpa swirl round the drain .

saturday night bathing from The swabian bath .

another really short one workday does what it says on the tin and that is describe a day bit by bit from waking in the morning getting there and then work day and journey home .I love the imagery in Mullers writing she uses unusal terms to describe things so we get things decribes as black toad like ,rotten pear like .I believe a lot of this is due to the style of german that Muller writes and speaks in, that due to being broken off from mainland germany since the second world war has retained a lot of the old high german style of speaking and writing .She also has a dream like feel to her stories as they walk that fineline between realism and magic realism very well .Now this said Nadirs isn’t the easiest read it has abuse alcoholism animals been mistreated all contained within the  118 pages .But that said you get a great insight into growing up and being part of minority in another country as the people in this book are .Muller was a real shock when she won the nobel relatively unkown outside germany ,but even in this her debut collection that is now nearly 25 years old you can see a writer that is destined for the greatness and accolades she got later in her writing life   .I ve seen some people say the translation isn’t great but having read passport I think it is just Muller use of words that sometimes seem odd to us the english reader .

Source – library .

Have you read Muller ?

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lizzysiddal
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 07:43:07

    I read The Passport just after Muller won the Nobel. Unfortunately I found her not to be my cup of tea at all. Though perhaps I should try again – after all, difficult authors can be an acquired taste.


  2. Violet
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 08:00:15

    I haven’t read any of Muller’s work, and I don’t think this appeals, with the animal cruelty and all. As you say, it is interesting to read a writer’s early work and see the seeds of what made them so highly-respected later on.


    • winstonsdad
      Nov 04, 2011 @ 10:56:48

      I like seeing writers arc mulller was a shock winner as she was not so well known in the english speaking world but more of her books available since she won ,all the best stu


  3. Caroline
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 08:35:40

    I tried some of her shorter pieces and so far didn’t warm to her. Same as with Elfriede Jelinek. Why did these two women out of all the fantastic women writers get the Nobel Prize?
    But agree with you about her style, it’s unique, it didn’t feel to oldfashioned to me though. Depends on what we read, maybe, and whether it’s an earlier book.


  4. Tony
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 09:47:27

    An important point to get out of this is that G-Lit isn’t confined to one country – it’s the product of many more, perhaps up to 7 or 8 🙂


  5. parrish
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 11:13:39

    I’ve got “Appointment” sitting on my shelf waiting for me to get round to it


  6. Geosi
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 15:20:20

    I’ve not read a Muller although I may want to at a point in time.


  7. Kinna
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 09:43:42

    I’m yet to read Muller. Your review makes the book very appealing. Loving this German lit project. Might have to dig something up. Thanks.


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November 2011


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