The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Herta Muller won the Nobel Prize a couple of years ago. She writes about a particular group: German speakers living in Romania. This particular book is about the rise of totalitarianism and the subversion of humanity under Ceausescu. It is a very painful read and a look at a particular group that has not had much attention paid to it outside of a small set of borders. The situation of these German-speaking Romanians has interesting parallels with ethnic Germans in Ukraine who no longer speak German but "feel" German; Russians who had been exported to the Baltic nations during the Soviet era.
A good book/play to read in conjunction with this is Mad Forest by Carol Churchill, which looks at the unraveling of the Ceausescu regime and how that affected people's personal relationships, language, and thinking abilities.