The Hunger Angel

The Hunger Angel
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Who does Leo have compassion for?

The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller – review

What is justice in the camp? Do you think this is true justice?

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Why or why not? What is the significance of the broken clock and its worm?

What is the role of beauty in the story? What would escaping from the camp look like for Leo? Did he ever find freedom?

The Hunger Angel

The Hunger Angel (German: Atemschaukel; ) is a page prose poem by Herta Müller. The English translation is by Philip Boehm (). The Hunger Angel has ratings and reviews. William2 said: A book which must not be rushed through, that's how beautiful the language is. It's ha.

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Tom Cox on The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller, a Nobel Prize-winner’s harrowing novel.

Many were deported to slave on construction sites in Siberia. On arrival at the Gulag he finds that food is his constant anxiety. At night he dreams of succulent dishes and fantasy menus. Unfolding in episodic flashback, The Hunger Angel is narrated by Leo as he struggles to make sense of the Gulag.

Ian Thomson is gripped by an absorbing narrative of suffering and survival in the Gulag

Its constant presence gnaws away at those within the camp. Although I never personally experienced such treatment, I was inculcated at an early age with a deep, repellant understanding of the fact that there were people like my uncle who had been wrongly incarcerated because of their political beliefs, ethnicity, geographic location, or for just being in the wrong historical place at the wrong historical time. Does this novel contribute to the imaginative literature of life in a concentration camp? What Leo's grandmother gives him are five words: Hunger becomes an insatiable angel who haunts the camp day and night, but also a bare-knuckled sparring partner, delivering blows that keep Leo feeling the rawest connection to life. The English translation is by Philip Boehm

Though he was never pro-Hitler, Leo spends five years shovelling coal and lugging bricks for Mother Russia. Most of the inmates die of cold and hunger.

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The telling of his tale in all its intricate and wretched detail is perhaps the only thing that animates him. Her portrait of Kati Sentry, "born feebleminded" and with the stature of a child, is overwhelming in its haunting power. Kati is in the camp because someone has substituted her name for another's on the list, or perhaps out of simple sadism. She cannot labour, or understand "what a quota is, or a command, or a punishment".

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Instead, she flutters her arms and coos like a dove, or sits on an anthill to make herself gloves out of ants. Crucially, the hunger angel cannot climb into Kati's brain and destroy it, because she is already in another world. This is a remarkable novel, both bleak and chastening. Leo may be at home again, but within him the camp "stretches on and on, bigger and bigger, from my left temple to my right".

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