The Appointment

I picked up The Appointment by Herta Muller from the P99 bin of Books for Less, together with my February book, The Flaming Corsage.

It had the most intriguing synopsis, written at the back cover:

“‘I’ve been summoned. Thursday, ten sharp.’ Thus begins a day in the life of a young factory worker during Ceauşescu’s totalitarian regime. Her crime? Sewing notes into the linings of men’s suits bound for Italy. ‘Marry me,’ the notes say, with her name and address. As she rides the tram to her interrogation, she thinks over the events and people of her life under the terror. In her distraction she misses her stop and finds herself alone on an unfamiliar street. And what she discovers there makes her fear of the interrogation pale in comparison.”

I later learned that the author received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature. All in all, I was prepared to love this book. However, as I turned the last page, I didn’t even like it. I’d even say that the book blurb was a bit misleading

If you have a thing for poetry, this book may be for you. As for me, my love for poetry does not go beyond Pablo Neruda — yes, it’s that bad — so needless to say, I had a hard time appreciating the author’s lyrical description of her daily events. On top of that, I also think only a woman can understand this book — her musings revolved around her alcoholic husband, insecurity over a prettier best friend, sexual attraction to father figures AND actual fathers… topics that totally alienated me.

I also didn’t understand the ending. If you’ve read the book and liked it, please leave a comment and help explain it. I saw no explanation from Google, although I did find this:

Reviewers have criticized The Appointment for its lack of direction. The intensity of the events also makes it a difficult novel for casual readers, but it is recommended for academic studies.

I suppose it’s a good study for:

  • Writing a narrative — The author, seamlessly transitions from one event of her life to another, from one flashback to the next. The entire story takes place in the protagonist’s short train ride, which probably explains the ADHD reference in eNotes’s review.
  • Understanding Communist Romania

* * * *

Up next for April/May, the Harold Augenbraum translation of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere!

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