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The Appointment

by Herta Muller

The innocuous title refers to a summons by Romania’s secret police; the charge prostitution. Delivered in a stream of consciousness during a tram ride to ‘the appointment’, the narrator is a seamstress caught sewing marriage proposals into suits destined for Italy, to escape an oppressive regime. Full of claustrophic anxiety, it is an exploration of the human soul in a state of helplessness. The ending felt ambiguous, or am I being irrational?

Extract

Now the driver is ringing his bell, there’s a dog running right across the road, a rangy, splotchy creature, all skin and bones, holding his tail between his legs. And his paws are matted with dried mud. God knows where he found mud in this heat. His muzzle is dripping with foam, it’s no point even bothering with the bell, the dog would be better off dead, he could finally stretch out and rest
Translated by Michael Hulse and Philip Boehm

Parallels

The Trial by Franz Kafka
Moscow to the End of the Line by Venedikt Erofeev
 

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