Mueller, whose parents were members of the German-speaking minority in Romania, spoke to RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova Service in 1999 about growing up under Ceausescu and how it shaped her work.
Here are excerpts from that interview:
"I have no other landscape other than the one I know, the one I came from. [My] literary characters reflect what happens to the human being in a totalitarian society or system. And I believe this is not a topic that I chose, but rather one that my life has chosen for me. I don't have that freedom of choice. I cannot say: 'I want to write about that thing, or about that other thing.' I am bound to write about what concerns me and about the things that won't leave me in peace."
"I believe there is a kind of literature throughout the world, the literature of biography that runs in parallel with extreme events, in parallel with the authors' lives. For example in the 1950s, the gulag was present in Eastern Europe in certain forms. [Or] for instance, the labor camps. And then we have the national-socialist era, Hitler's time, the destruction of the Jews, a topic which many authors have described in parallel with their own biographies.... I believe this type of literature exists everywhere, from Cuba to China."
-- Translated by Mircea Ticudean