The Appointment

Scheduling an Appointment
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I wonder why our author did that. This is a very powerful, dark and moving novel. I can only describe it as depressing-brilliance and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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Bravo, and bravo… View all 37 comments. Her narrative didn't fill me with much enthusiasm, and yet, some of her sentences really were quite striking. They stood out ripe in a bowl of decaying fruit. The Appointment takes a bleak and circuitous route through Bucharest on a rickety old tram that seems to take an eternity to reach its destination. If you had been summoned for an interview with Ceausescu's secret police in the last years of the dictatorship the last thing you would want is to be late.

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The narrator, a factory seamstress, has been caught sewing marriage proposals into the hems of suits bound for export, for which she gets charged with prostitution. Throughout the novel, you get the impression that any other sort of existence would have been a lot better than life in this communist state, constantly being trapped by feelings of paranoia and dread.

Just who can you trust? What bothered me is that it's never clear just how many times the woman has been summoned before, or whether she actually makes the final appointment. The journey from A to B is certainly a torturous one, for us just as much as the narrator, dipping in and out of her life while she is on the tram, the novel shunts back and forth in time across her memories in a haphazard manner, as she contemplates a world in which happiness has no meaning.

This is not a novel that rewards the reader in any way, but you do feel the isolation and numbness under Ceausescu rule. The Appointment is more a test of endurance than anything else. View all 8 comments. What a simultaneously sinister and banal place. The novel is in every sense a dystopia.

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Only in this case it happens not to be an SF fantasy but based on 20th century events. Its narrative line is elliptical. It has been written in a rich though understated style with a subtle patterning of motifs throughout. I suppose it might be called muscular were its anatomy not so delicately wrought.

It is not chic lit. It is highly readable literary fiction, not at all cryptic, and in the end emotionally shattering. The Appointment has a fragmented narrative line.

It consists of an interbraiding, if you will, of nine or ten related stories. It is not a collection of linked stories. Not at all. It is a novel. First there is the core story of our unnamed female narrator as she takes one particular streetcar journey to an interrogation with Major Albu, her tormentor in the secret police.


Around this core of the streetcar trip other stories are intertwined. These include the life and death of the beautiful Lilli and her elderly lover; the story of our narrator's involvement with a co-worker, Nelu, whom she fucks out of sheer boredom during a grim business trip and will thereafter have nothing to do with; and the story of how she meets Paul, her second husband. Early on she does something very silly, something that would be laughable in any other context, but which the authorities consider treasonous. Needless to say, the slips are found before shipping and she is denounced by the rejected Nelu.

Albu is scary but over the course of the novel we come to see how impotent he is. Moreover, we come to know what the state fears: its dissolution by unknown means.

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A fate it was to undergo when the democratic movement swept Eastern Europe in See YouTube for video. But why? It seems to me it would be like sending your innocuous kid sister in for questioning. Why do it? Of what possible intelligence value can there be in interrogating a young woman who works in a button factory? It is done solely in the name of ideological conformity. The people of this unnamed state have nothing to be proud of. They are essentially prisoners in their own country. Lilli is shot while trying to cross the border.

Her fate becomes hortatory propaganda. There is no cultural life to speak of, no artistic expression. Very striking is the consistent preference throughout of young women for old men.

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Young men are — no, not those on whom all hopes and dreams for the future are placed — but a thoroughly disenfranchised lot, without opportunity, almost invisible. Here the emasculated young men sit at tables ogling Lilli and her old man and tossing matchheads at them. Right or wrong, I saw the matchheads as symbols of forestalled ignition, quashed passion. This is a very powerful, very dark novel.

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I recommended it highly. View all 12 comments. Oct 06, Jim Fonseca rated it it was amazing. The heroine of this novel lives her life waiting. She is a seamstress in a Romanian factory making fine men's overcoats for export to Italy. She is so desperate for escape from her pointless life that she inserts notes saying "Marry Me," with her name and address, into the linings of the coats.

She has a live-in male friend who spends all of his time and most of her money drinking the day away. There is no future here - it's more like maintaining a big dog and having the expense that goes with The heroine of this novel lives her life waiting.

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There is no future here - it's more like maintaining a big dog and having the expense that goes with it. This is Eastern Europe before the fall of the Berlin Wall. So our heroine is in trouble again for those notes. It's happened before. Now she could lose her job or even be imprisoned.


She's been summoned once more to the inspector's office - thus the book's title. The inspector is now taking a personal interest in her case; that is, he is taking a personal interest in her. Like other novels of Eastern Europe under Communism, the work is filled with angst and anomie.

Waiting for something. We are treated to some great prose. Then his eyeballs glistened and turned into little squares. Out shot his arm, and he slapped me. He was better at that then he was at making coffee, tying shoelaces, or sharpening pencils. View 2 comments.

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Dec 07, Deea rated it it was amazing Shelves: nobel , best , favorites. There is a shocking matter of factness in the voice addressing to the readers of this book. Belonging to the female character in the center of the story, it weaves the narration by adding together episodes full of horror from a past under communism her grandmother's death, her father's adultery, her father-in-law's acts of violence, Lilli's sexual misbehavior and death , details regarding a present ride by tram to the police office for interrogations and random descriptions of objects.

How is it There is a shocking matter of factness in the voice addressing to the readers of this book. How is it to feel that everything surrounding you is spying on you? Innanimate objects get personified around and these, together with people surrounding you among whom most act crazy if they are not crazy already seem to take part in a conspiratory whirlpool which has in the center your life. Everything becomes part of this cycle and the repetition and dullness of everyday events scare the hell out of you.

Romano Prodi

The lawyer Federico Fendi has reasons to believe that his wife Carla in secret is Rome's highest paid prostitute. Sidney Lumet. Omar Sharif, Anouk Aimée, Didi Perego. The Appointment Poster. A woman is writing anti-God editorials for her local newspaper. One day a mysterious visitor comes to her office with a message from .

Everything seems to be an enemy, everyone and everything seem to be plotting against you, even the lifeless objects in their silence seem to whisper against you. Everything suggests the feeling that someone is watching you and is going to inform on you to the secret police under the Romanian communist regime led by Ceausescu. Stricken with constant fear and with the feeling that senselessness is easier to handle than the aimlessness of the everyday events, the main character constantly gives an answer to the question pointed above which Herta Muller seems to make a whole theme out of in this book "How is it to feel that everything surrounding you is spying on you?