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 ?

who wants to help ?

I would love some people to help me out with the around the world challenge have a basic format but ideas and offers of help most welcome .THE IDEA SO FAR IS 11 CATEGORISE no order but a year-long challenge ,thinks I need help with are using mister linky ,making a button for blogs to show any help or offers of support be most welcome . here is what the categories would be –

  1. EUROPE (NORTHERN) -ie Germany ,Holland ,Sweden ,Denmark , Finland,Russia ,Poland ,uk ,Iceland ,Ireland ..
  2. EUROPE(SOUTHERN)-ie spain ,Portugal,Italy ,Greece,Turkey Balkans …
  3. AFRICA (FRENCH AFRICA) The west of africa mainly Senegal ,Cotes de Ivorie including books in other language from these areas in english.
  4. AFRICA (ENGLISH SPEAKING ) southern and eastern africa IE Kenya ,Ghana ,South Africa also books in other languages translated in to english
  5. ARABIC books from the arabic world Algeria ,Egypt etc
  6. ASIA  (Korea ,Japan and China )
  7. ASIA rest of asia
  8. AMERICAS (NORTH) US AND CANADA BOOKS
  9. AMERICAS (CENTRAL) plus Caribbean
  10. AMERICAS (SOUTH )
  11. AUSTRALIA ,NEW ZEALAND AND OCEANIA

There are categories I ve in mind and let people read in what ever order they want but one a month for challenge leaving spare month as we all have things crop up and may need time in hand .

WHAT DO YOU THINK ?

I want this to be fun my personnel goal was to read books from 52 countries this year I ve nearly done that in twelve months ,its given me such a scope of books ,I just in a little way want to pass that on to other people in a fun way ,all the best stu and winston .

the passport by herta muller

the fourth on the around the world is this book from Romania .I first came across Herta Muller about a week before last years nobel prizes were announced when @milestyle Stewart from world lit forum mentioned her as a possible winner .Being the sort person that loves to find out about new writers i google her and looked on amazon for her books to find little or none in print ,then she went on to win this years nobel prize for literature ,and both granta and the lovely serpents tail choose to reissue books from her .

  the book its self is a mere 90 pages long  set in the small german speaking enclave in Romania and follows a small village miller as he struggles for a passport ,but by no means a simple read as there is no real start to end narrative ,other than a thin thread about Windisch the main characters quest for a passport .In parts the book verges in to the surreal with dreams of dry frogs and an owl that settles on roofs as a harpenge of death .In other places you sense the corruption of the Ceausescu regime with Windsche having to bribe officials with corn and flour .also there are deep sexual and religious undercurrents with a tree being burnt for being possessed by the devil .Muller has a wonderful way of describe the surrounding weather it badly painted walls or the smell of the apples exploding in the fire .for the most part this novel is obviously autobiographical as Hertha herself had to wait to travel to west germany ,grew up in a small village in the same area as the novel is based .Windisch and his wife spooky echo millers own parents as her father was a solider and her own mother had spent time in a soviet work camp .

The priest had stood behind the apple tree ,praying loudly .the church choir stood alongside the boxwood hedge, singing the long songs .it was colds and the breath of the songs was drawn in to the sky .the women ad children prayed quietly.

a scene just before they burn a devilish apple tree .

the cover is a green photo of a cyclist the passport is the english title the translation of the german title is “man is a great pheasant in the world ” which is maybe more intriguing .this was published late last year by serpents tail

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