Land of the Green Plums – Herta Muller


Source: Amazon




When we don’t speak, said Edgar, we become unbearable, and when we do, we make fools of ourselves.


To the next person who reads this book:


The Land of the Green Plums introduces us first to Lola who lives in the same small room with the narrator.

Living in a totalitarian Romania during Ceausescu’s reign, Lola is an example of the oppression of the people by the regime.

Living a strange, private, and sometimes dark existence, Lola is found dead, hanging from the narrator’s belt, in the wardrobe of their small room. She has supposedly committed suicide; an act that is abhorred and despised as a crime.

No one can leave the country, books are banned, and there is no freedom of expression. The fear and paranoia can be felt in every page turn. The sadness and desperation is captured in every detail.

It is the detail in this novel which really captures life in Romania at this time. The reader feels present at all times.

Muller writes in a vivid, descriptive way which stays in the mind long after the book has been put down.

Nail clippers, and grass are themes that play out throughout the novel for conformity and the mowing down of expression of thought and feeling.

Moving out of the poor provincial life into the city, the characters seek to escape Ceausescu’s influence, but life in the city is much the same.

The relationships in this novel are captured intimately: the marks of the regime are present in every characters life, down to the smallest detail.