The First Line: When we don't speak, said Edgar, we become unbearable, and when we do, we make fools of ourselves.
Set in Romania during Ceauşecu's reign, this story follows four college friends over the years as they endure searches, interrogations, and the rising tides of fear brought on by the oppressive society in which they live. They hide their poems, guard their conversations, and use secret codes in their letters. They're assigned jobs after college, then those jobs are taken away. And they each dream of escape.
This book drew me in with the first sentence and didn't let go until the last. It's a challenging, yet compelling read, with a narrative style reminiscent of two of Virginia Woolf's novels: Jacob's Room and The Waves--which means this novel isn't exactly simple or straight-forward, but if you have a little patience, all the pieces do eventually come together. Műller's storytelling is unflinching, and sometimes heartbreaking; there's also a lot of poetry in her prose. To be honest, when I decided to read this book, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it, or even get through it, but I ended up really liking it! So here's to another outstanding read in 2017.