Traveling on One Leg

Traveling on One Leg

Herta Müller

Irene has been driven away by "the dictator from the other country" and finds herself a foreigner in Germany. In this new place, things are given names that don’t seem to fit, and are nothing like she thought they would be when she was longing for them from afar. Once she has left behind Ceausescu’s Romania in the late 1980s, nothing stands in the way of a new life in West Berlin. But in her heart, Irene has neither properly left her old home behind, nor has she truly arrived at her new one. She has lost Romania without gaining anything – Germany remains alien to her.

In the new country, things bear names that don’t seem to fit them, and the world is fragmented into countless details. Irene is left confused, disoriented and paralysed. All alone, she roams through railway landscapes and along thoroughfares. Her relationships with various men do nothing to alleviate her solitude.

Traveling On One Leg, initially published in 1989, is Herta Müller’s first novel after her relocation from Romania to Berlin: a moving story about distance and closeness, departure and arrival – and the emptiness between, which painfully brings us face to face with ourselves.


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Herta Müllers work is translated into more than 50 languages

Traveling on One Leg

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