The Land of Green Plums
List price: $21.99
From the winner of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature, a devastating picture of a society and a generation ruined by fear. Set in Romania at the height of Ceausescu's reign of terror, The Land of Green Plums is the story of a group of young people who leave the impoverished provinces for the city in search of better prospects and camaraderie. Their hopes are quickly dashed: the city, no less than the countryside, bears the mark of the dictatorship's corrosive touch. All of the narrator's friends come to betray one another and themselves. The totalitarian state, we see, has come to inhabit every human realm: everyone, even the strongest, must either bend to the oppressors or resist them and perish. Herta Müller, herself a survivor of Ceausescu's police state, speaks from intimate experience. Scene by scene, in simple images of hieroglyphic power - men filling their mouths with unripe plums; girls sleeping with abattoir workers for bags of offal; a docile proletariat making things no one wants - "tin sheep and wooden watermelons" - Müller anatomizes a country, its citizens, and the corruption that has rotted the core of both.