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The Fox Was Ever the Hunter

The Fox Was Ever the Hunter

A Novel

Herta Müller; translated by Philip Boehm

Picador

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“VIVIDLY POETIC . . . MÜLLER HAS EXERCISED HER VOICE WITH A FURY THAT VIBRATES OFF THE PAGE.”THE BOSTON GLOBE

Romania—the last months of the Ceausescu regime. Adina is a young schoolteacher. Paul is a musician. Clara works in a wire factory. Pavel is Clara’s lover. But one of them works for the secret police and is reporting on the others. One day Adina returns home to discover that her fox-fur rug has had its tail cut off. On another occasion, it’s the hind leg. Then a foreleg. The mutilated fur is a taunting sign that she is being watched by the secret police—the fox was ever the hunter. Images of photographic precision combine into a kaleidoscope of terror as Adina and her friends struggle to keep mind and body intact in a world pervaded by complicity and permeated by fear, where it’s hard to tell victim from perpetrator. Once again, Herta Müller uses language that displays “the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose”—as the Swedish academy noted upon awarding her the Nobel Prize—to create a hauntingly cinematic portrayal of the corruption of the soul under totalitarianism.

NPR Best Book of the Year, Boston Globe Best Books of the Year

EXCERPT


The way of the apple worm


 


The ant is carrying a dead fly three times its size. The ant can’t see the way ahead, it flips the fly around and crawls back. Adina doesn’t want to block...

Reviews

Praise for The Fox Was Ever the Hunter

"A haunting portrayal."—The Washington Post

"Remarkable."—NPR

"Extraordinary . . . A profoundly unsettling novel."—The Times Literary Supplement (London)

"The Fox Was Ever the Hunter is a collage of images, stories and fragments of forbidden songs. . . . When the collage is completed, the reader understands that each and every one of Müller’s stories, every flight of luscious language and every brutal fact, has been necessary in depicting a society torn to pieces."—The New York Times

"Reads like poetry . . . The Fox Was Ever the Hunter is a short book, but the way Müller narrates gives it a luminescence, like wet stone seen at night. . . . Of the writers to survive life under the Communist bloc, Müller has written most poignantly about the way surveillance and state control at once necessitated and warped the fabric of love. . . . From the moment she left, Müller has exercised her voice with a fury that vibrates off the page nearly a quarter century later. In this vividly poetic novel, she reminds us what life without that freedom looked, felt, and tasted like."—Boston Globe

"A dark collage, which glints with fear—and with beauty . . . Müller’s prose—as poetic as it is blunt—works like a prism, shattering and illuminating a world that is always watching, waiting."—The Atlantic

"Perhaps no author has captured the surreal textures of Iron Curtain paranoia quite like Herta Müller."—Vogue.com (Best Books of the Month)

"This newly translated 1992 novel set during the twilight of Romania’s Ceau?escu regime makes vivid the persecution Müller and others suffered. . . . She uses the distinctive language honoured by the Nobel Committee for its ‘concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose’ to give a powerful sense of the toxic atmosphere of a totalitarian regime."—BBC Culture (UK)

"Atmospheric, lyrical . . . An essential work of post-Iron Curtain literature and a harrowing portrait of life under suspicion."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Offers a bleak and poetic portrait of Romanian village life in the final days of the Ceau?escu regime, where deprivation is ubiquitous, cruelty is standard, and spying is a survival skill. . . . Thickly lyrical and sometimes downright hallucinatory . . . few descriptions of life under totalitarian rule are as beautifully evocative."—Booklist (starred)

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Herta Müller; translated by Philip Boehm

HERTA MÜLLER is the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the European Literature Prize. She is the author of, among other books, The Hunger Angel and The Land of Green Plums. Born in Romania in 1953, Müller lost her job as a teacher and suffered repeated threats after refusing to cooperate with Ceausescu's secret police. She succeeded in emigrating in 1987 and now lives in Berlin.

Herta Müller

Herta Müller

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Philip Boehm

Philip Boehm

From the Publisher

Picador

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