‘DO YOU HAVE A HANDKERCHIEF was the question my mother asked me every morning, standing by the gate to our house, before I went out onto the street. I didn’t have a handkerchief. And because I didn’t, I would go back inside and get one. I never had a handkerchief because I would always wait for her question. The handkerchief was proof that my mother was looking after me in the morning. For the rest of the day I was on my own.’

In Every Word Knows Something of a Vicious Circle Herta Müller describes how living under a dictatorship shapes her work. She outlines how words and writing allowed her to turn humiliation into a type of dignity that takes time to arouse suspicion.

Herta Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009. This book is a transcript of her acceptance speech and includes a telephone interview and an introduction by Georgia Brown.

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