‘Nadirs’ by Herta Müller, translated by Sieglinde Lug

This collection of largely autobiographical stories may be more for devotees of Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller, but to my mind it provides a good point of entry to her work. It is not quite as grim and dark as some of her later novels, but it’s certainly not an easy read, with plenty of tales of domestic violence, cruelty towards animals, alcoholism and so on. Yet at the same time it provides a child’s view of growing up as part of an ethnic minority in the west of Romania, with sensuous descriptions of family and village life, and of a lonely child finding some connection with nature.

First published in translation in Nadirs, University of Nebraska Press, 1999

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