Herta Müller has eyes like spotlights that drive out the darkness night after night. She is small, featherweight even, and is the last person you would suspect spent to have spent a childhood herding cows. Of her background, she says: “I was born in 1953 in Nitzkysdorf, the year in which Stalin physically died – mentally, he continued living for years. The village,” she continues, referring to her place of birth, “lies in the Romanian Banat, a two-hour drive from Belgrade and Budapest. A peasant population, white, pink, pale blue gables – and triangular houses in symmetrical streets. My father hated working in the fields and when he returned from the SS in 1945, he became a lorry driver and alcoholic. The combination is possible in the countryside. My mother was and remained a peasant in the corn and sunflower fields. Corn for me is the socialist plant par excellence: it displays its colours, grows in colonies, blocks the view and cuts your hands with its leaves while you’re working.”
more from Verena Auffermann at Sign and Sight here.