The Passport by Herta Muller
(Masks)

66%

5 Critic Reviews

The Passport is a 90-page novel about a miller, Windisch, a Swab, or ethnic German, who applies for a passport to leave Romania. That's all in the way of plot or narrative impetus.
-Guardian

Synopsis

From the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature!

“[The Passport] has the same clipped prose cadences as Nadirs, this time applied to evoke the trapped mentality of a man so desperate for freedom that he views everything through a temporal lens, like a prisoner staring at a calendar in his cell.”—Wall Street Journal

“A swift, stinging narrative, fable-like in its stoic concision and painterly detail.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Passport is a beautiful, haunting novel whose subject is a German village in Romania caught between the stifling hopelessness of Ceausescu’s dictatorship and the glittering temptations of the West. Stories from the past are woven together with the problems Windisch, the village miller, faces after he applies for permission to migrate to West Germany. Herta Müller (Herta Mueller) describes with poetic attention the dreams and superstitions, conflicts and oppression of a forgotten region, the Banat, in the Danube Plain. In sparse, poetic language, Muller captures the forlorn plight of a trapped people.

 

About Herta Muller

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Herta Müller was born in Timis, Romania in 1953. A vocal member of the German minority, she was forced to leave the country in 1987, and moved to Berlin, where she still lives. This edition of The Passport was the first publication of Müller's work in English. She is the 2009 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
 
Published September 1, 1989 by Serpent's Tail. 93 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Passport
All: 5 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 3

Guardian

Above average
on Oct 24 2009

The Passport is a 90-page novel about a miller, Windisch, a Swab, or ethnic German, who applies for a passport to leave Romania. That's all in the way of plot or narrative impetus.

Read Full Review of The Passport (Masks) | See more reviews from Guardian

The Telegraph

Above average
on Dec 14 2009

But The Passport rarely shakes the spectre of a narrator trying extremely hard to flog her style to the appropriate pitch of doom-laden psychosis, meaning that this one-note record of a personal apocalypse may struggle to linger in the mind.

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The Bookbag

Above average
on Nov 22 2012

But beyond the novelty of such a piece coming honestly from an unheard mouth, this reads as an unmemorable slice of rustic ennui and quiet complaint from its inhabitants...but I don't suspect many will find themselves completely entertained.

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Monsters and Critics

Good
on Nov 23 2009

Muller’s spare writing style has a haunting, almost lyrical quality as she draws a window to the local superstitions, customs and power structure of a tiny village suffering under the heel of Ceausescu’s dictatorship.

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Book Geeks

Above average
on Nov 30 2009

However, while her style might not be to everyone’s taste, in a short, fragmented novel like The Passport it does serve well to convey the haunted melancholy of Windisch’s village and the oppressive uselessness of his situation.

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Reader Rating for The Passport
65%

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