The Appointment Paperback
by Herta Muller
'I've been summoned, Thursday, ten sharp.' So begins one day in the life of a young clothing-factory worker during Ceausescu's totalitarian regime.
She has been questioned before, but this time she knows it 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 the country.As she rides the tram to her interrogation, her thoughts stray to her friend Lilli, shot while trying to flee to Hungary; to her grandparents, deported after her first husband informed on them; to Major Albu, her interrogator, who begins each session with a wet kiss on her fingers; and to Paul, her lover and the one person she can trust.
In her distraction, she misses her stop and finds herself on an unfamiliar street.And what she discovers there suddenly puts her fear of the appointment into chilling perspective. Bone-spare and intense, The Appointment is a pitiless rendering of the terrors of a crushing regime.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 224 pages
- Publisher: Granta Books
- Publication Date: 01/07/2011
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781846273766
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Review by pgmcc
The Appointment is a stream of consciousness novel. My experience of such novels has not been good, but I'm glad to say Herta Muller's novel was fascinating and well paced.It is the thoughts of a woman on her way to an interrogation. The novel opens with the words, "I've been summonsed." There is no thought of not turning up. She lives in a totalitarian state and the consequences are not worth thinking about.Muller conveys the sense of paranoia very well. The individual is a victim of the state and the state watches and punishes those it perceives as having insulted the state or put their personal interests above that of the greater good.The protagonists mind wanders over several topics and across different time spans to give the reader the background to her "summons", and also lays out the history of her two marriages, the love life of her closest friend, the attitudes of the general populace, etc...I found this book not only portrayed the pressures on the individual who is subjected to the revenge of the system, but also what life in a totalitarian state is like, especially under the watchful eyes of the security officials.A sobering yet intriguing book.