The Appointment-Herta Müller
Novel in translation
"I've been summoned. Thursday, ten sharp." Thus begins a day in the life of a young factory worker during Ceausescu's totalitarian regime. She has been questioned before; this time, she believes, will be worse.
For the reader, this is a surprisingly quick read. Müller's delivery is staccato and spare and the prose does not dwell but rather matter of factly speeds the story along. The narrator however is not having a good time and the prose serves to heighten your fear for her because within those tight phrases is the story of a woman who is doing anything, anything she can to keep sane. From the counting of stains, the focusing on her good luck charms, to the recounting of her life, she is constantly erecting and strengthening the mental walls she needs to endure another interrogation.
The feeling of Ceausescu's regime (never named, nor is the country mentioned, makes this woman's story more universal) is dominating, full of officials and the downtrodden. The privations and the torture all feel quite realistically dreadful. Excellent read!