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Overview

From the winner of the IMPAC Award and the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature, a fierce and devastating novel about a young woman's discovery of betrayal in the most intimate reaches of her life

"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. Her crime? Sewing notes into the linings of men's suits bound for Italy. "Marry me," the notes say, with her name and address. Anything to get out of Romania.

As each tram stop brings the young woman closer to the appointment, her thoughts stray to her father and his infidelities; to her friend Lilli, shot trying to flee to Hungary; to her grandparents, deported after her own husband informed on them; and to Paul, her lover, her one source of trust despite his drunkenness. In her distraction, she misses her stop and finds herself on an unfamiliar street. And what she discovers there makes her fear of the interrogation pale by comparison.

Bone-spare and intense, The Appointment powerfully renders the humiliating terrors of a crushing regime and its corrosive effects on family and friendship, sex and love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312655372
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 11/23/2010
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 629,895
Product dimensions: 8.14(w) x 11.70(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

Born in Romania in 1953, Herta Müller lost her job as a teacher and suffered repeated threats after refusing to cooperate with Ceaucescu's secret police. She succeeded in emigrating in 1987 and now lives in Berlin. The recipient of the European Literature Prize, she has also won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for her previous novel, The Land of Green Plums.

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The Appointment: A Novel 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"The Appointment" consists of the thoughts of a woman during a public bus trip that is bringing her to an appointment with her interrogator, Albu. Beneath the externals of an otherwise "boring" bus trip, we enter into her oppressive and traumatized world, full of haunting images of her childhood, her factory life, her own marriage, her father's affair, her friend's death after a failed attempt at getting out of the country, her relationship with Albu, and the characters on the bus itself. As her thoughts wander, the reader may piece together the woman's history, but far more importantly, the woman's experience--how she is shaped by that history and how she copes with it. Her story becomes the story of every woman who has struggled and endured under the oppression not only of a totalitarian regime but also of a frozen marriage, the death of friends, and failed attempts to achieve meaning and freedom. As Faulkner would have observed, it is a depiction of the human spirit . . . enduring. Muller's work is deserving of the Nobel Prize in Literature. It is worth chewing on in one's own mind, and perhaps even re-reading it. Ultimately, the book is not intended either for the dull or the faint of heart. I highly recommend it to anyone who, himself or herself, is enduring and seeking ultimately to overcome.
knittingmomof3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From My Blog...The Appointment by Herta Müller is an absolute masterpiece of literature. The narrator is on a tram, once again heading to face another interrogation by Ceausescu¿s secret police, and while she heads to this appointment she recounts various moments in her life, allowing the reader an inside look into another world, one that is difficult to imagine, yet Müller¿s descriptions are spot on. With breath-taking beauty, Müller details with precision the simple, the mundane, the everyday scenes of life to show the reader a world of deprivation and a certain acceptance to maintain sanity in a society filled with black marketers, long lines for drink and food, plenty of one yet not the other, government owned shops, and the utter helplessness brought onto the people under such a regime. Müller¿s writings brought back to me the sights, sounds and smells of the Former Soviet Union, the grays and blacks, the oneness and lack of free will. While The Appointment does not take place in the former USSR, rather Romania, it was not difficult for me to envision. I fear I have not done justice to this literary masterpiece. I would recommend The Appointment to anyone who would like a look into another culture and what it is like to live without the freedoms so many of us take for granted. As for myself, I plan to read a non-translated version to see what, if anything was lost.
bhowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I should say at the outset that I do not like stream of consciousness prose masquerading as a novel. I found this novel boring, and the less said about the ending the better. Yet the book has attracted many eloquent statements, the result of which was to make me wish that they had written the book rather than Ms. Muller since I could find no evidence of any such profound meaning within the book, still less any pyschological tension or excitement.
voz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this experience so much I am going to hunt down others by Herta Muller. In some ways this reads like prose poems, there are all sorts of choatic moments contrasted with brooding angst. Written as a stream of consciousness internal monologue on a ninely minute tram ride. So it's a bleak read, at no time did I feel I was reading a translation. I've wondered just how you stay human in an oppressive society. Harmless pranks are met with The Appointment. But other acts of madness, shocking as they are just part of a world where madness is abstracted and the ordinary is grotesque.
JohnLundy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Appointment" is a first-person novel set in Romania during the reign of the communist dictator Nicolai Ceausescu, a time and a place the author knows firsthand.The appointment is at 10 a.m. The narrator -- whose name we are never told -- has been summoned by a major in the secret police. He can require her presence whenever he wants, because she has been fired from her job at a clothing factory for placing notes in 10 pairs of pants being shipped to Italy asking the men who receive the note to take her away to Italy and marry her. Technically, she wasn't fired for those notes but for three other notes in clothing bound for Sweden that say, "Greetings from the dictatorship." She tells the reader that she didn't write those notes, but she might be lying. The narrator is not an entirely trustworthy person (neither is anyone else in this novel).The interrogator says those notes to the Italians make her a prostitute. She denies this. She didn't want money, she only wanted to marry the first Italian who responded. And if that didn't work out, she would marry another Italian, because "after all, there's no shortage of Italians in Italy."Having recently been in Italy, I can testify to the truth of that statement. There also are quite a few Romanians in Italy, for that matter.When the narrator is summoned she comes. She knows if she doesn't come voluntarily, she will be taken, and she will never return to the apartment in a leaning tower that she shares with a heavy-drinking boyfriend.Muller's Romania is a dreary place, filled with woebegone people, secret police, spies and schemers. And they are all very poor, so poor that they can't even afford quotation marks and question marks -- or at least there are none in this novel.Perhaps now that Muller has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, she'll be able to afford quotation marks and question marks. Or she might say: I've gotten this far without them, why bother now. Do you think she will.In one sense, "The Appointment" reminded me of the book I read just before it, Joseph Conrad's "Nostromo." As with "Nostromo," "The Appointment" jumps around chronologically, and Muller does so abruptly -- so that you have to be careful or you lose track of where you are in the story. Which appointment? Which trip to the flea market? Her husband or her boyfriend? The back stories appear in a jumble.Along the way, Muller tells you a lot about life in communist Romania, and, really, none of it is pleasant, although some of it is told with ironic humor:"She wasn't that dear a wife to him, she knew that. He had a mistress my age in the garden shop, a specialist in mites and aphids. Since no one could say her official title of Comrade Engineer for Combating Parasites in Cultivated Plants without laughing, everyone called her Comrade Louse Inspector."
rmckeown on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As my faithful readers know, I always read the major prize-winners when announced. As is the case with most recent Nobel Prize awardees, I had never heard of Herta Müller. At first I thought, well yes, Eastern Europe before the collapse of the Soviet Union ¿ secret police, long lines and empty shelves, spying neighbors, frequent and seemingly pointless interrogations to root out dissatisfied citizens ¿ I had heard, seen, and read this plot many times. The difference with Müller¿s take on this story involves, lyrical, graceful, simple prose that lulls the reader into a false sense of ¿been-there, done-that.¿ I nearly gave up several times and even had to struggle to get through the last 40 pages as the descriptions became more detailed, more bizarre, and the mind of the un-named narrator becomes more and more disjointed. Then I read the last line: ¿The trick is not to go mad.¿So, like Kafka, and Lu Hsun¿s ¿Diary of a Madman,¿ Müller¿s novel relates the descent into madness as a result of paranoia of a dictatorship run wild with maintaining absolute power and control over its citizens. How close we came to that precipice! The novel is a warning. Unbridled police powers will inevitably lead to abuse and oppression.With that last line ¿ almost a Joycean epiphany ¿ the novel made sense. It became harrowing, exasperating, and I understood completely how madness did result. 5 stars.--Jim, 12/31/09
bobbieharv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very well-written, very strange and forboding in a Kafkaesque way. She's being interrogated by a powerful person in the government; on her way to her appointment we find out many details of her life, meticulously observed; but we never find out what happens to her, which of course is deliberate. Too unsettling and unresolved for a 5, but a book that will stay with me for a while.
notchaucer More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book, but not a pleasant experience to read. The book is set in the mind of a woman on a tram on her way to an appointment, actually an interrogation, and not her first one. In it we see revealed the degraded "life" of ordinary people in communist Rumania. The narrator is apparently in the middle of repetitive interrogations. She works in a clothing factory, clothing for export and has put notes in the pockets of suits with her name and address saying "marry me... ti aspetto". This is her pathetic escape plan. Can we say we "like" 1984? This book is the same in that regard.
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Sheri Pasquarella More than 1 year ago
first forray into the 'noble' books project and i am (uncharacteristcally) jumping ship. leaving the narrator to her weekly interrogations in an Eastern-block state. sorry to say, but i don't really care what happens to her...my remorse for this callousness is tempered by my disdain for the overly-mannered minimalist prose and lethargic pace. Did i really only read about 50 pages? Felt more like 500.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago