Sono le parole ad avere fame. Non sono io ad avere fame di parole

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herta-muller-premio-nobel-letteratura-2009

You’ve […] written about the inadequacy of language, that we don’t always think in words, that speech does not cover our innermost realms. So perhaps it’s more accurate to say that you look for ways to describe what’s lurking behind and between the words. And very often, this is simply silence. There’s another scene in The Hunger Angel where Leo’s grandfather is staring at a calf, devouring it with his eyes, and in the book there is this word Augenhunger—“eye hunger.” Is there also such a thing as word hunger?
It’s the words that are hungry. I’m not hungry for words, but they have a hunger of their own. They want to consume what I have experienced, and I have to make sure that they do that.
Do you hear sentences in your head before you set them down?
I don’t hear any sentences in my head, but while I’m writing I have to see everything I’ve written. I see the sentence. And I hear it. I also read it out loud.
Do you read everything out loud?
Everything. For the rhythm—because if it doesn’t sound right out loud, then the sentence isn’t working. That means something’s wrong. I always have to hear this rhythm, it’s the only way to check if the words are right. And the crazy thing is that the more surreal a text is, the more closely it has to correspond to reality. Otherwise it won’t work. Prose like that always turns out badly—kitsch. Many people have a hard time believing it, but surreal scenes have to be checked against reality with millimeter precision, otherwise they don’t function at all, and the text is completely unusable. The surreal can only work if it becomes reality. So it has to be proofed against reality and built up according to realistic structures.

Hertha Müller, intervista su The Paris Review, autunno 2014

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