In Babylon
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In Babylon

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  231 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Translated from the Dutch by Stacey Knecht

Published in Europe to tremendous critical acclaim, this richly imagined international bestseller weaves a gloriously inventive and very human story about man's constant drive from the Old World to the New--and his desire, despite everything, for home and homeland

The worst winter blizzard the East Netherlands has seen in many years...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published March 22nd 2000 by William Morrow (first published 1997)
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I sat at the table, the intoxicating smell of fresh bread around me, and listened like a child being told that there's no such thing as Sinterklaas.

There is a wandering frame and focus to In Babylon. The disillusionment detailed above is an aspect of its effect, as is entropy: the latter receives a lengthy digression. The novel is also about false starts and dead ends. Its about picking up the pieces and attempting to find order, just as one's genetic code is screaming: RUN. Nathan Hollander, au...more
My second attempt at a Dutch holiday book (see Ian McEwan's Amsterdam)- this time by a Dutch author. I enjoyed the imagery and the author's turn of phrase but didn't find it particularly easy to read. This book skips between remembered events and current events with no warning - I'm a simple, straightforward soul and I find this confusing! The book ends with lots of unanswered questions - I don't like that - I like to know what's happened. At least most of the book took place in Holland!!
Jess Cullinan
I loved pretty much everything about this book, though the ending is somewhat unfulfilling. The style is reminiscent of Stiegg Larsson's "Dragon Tattoo" books, but no violence. The characters are fascinating, and I absolutely loved the interwoven fairy tales, as well as the unexpected tie to Los Alamos, which I felt was very well done. This is a book I will have to read again, just to make sure I catch all of the threads woven by this very talented author. Fan-freaking-tastic.
Karen Jett
This sometimes dark, sometimes humorous novel is alluring in the mysterious and piecemeal fashion in which it is presented. While I was initially not sure if I was going to like this novel, but the time I was about 30 pages in I knew that I would be compelled to finish it. The main characters are real with all the foibles that go along with that realism. However, the realism is blended with the inclusion of fairy tales and conversations with long-dead familly members that leaves you wondering wh...more
This is a ghostly account of the 20th century, as articulated from within a european persona who has until now only seemed a shadow. The history of the Hollanders, spanning 300 years, and a thousand wonderful ideas, pictures, and trap-doors, places the horrors of the last hundred years into a mature and personal context. This story shows us: beyond right or wrong, the atomic era came right on time. It had to happen this way. In some ways, the Atom bomb was as predictable as the chiming of a cloc...more
Lucy Gray
Wow, a really different and interesting book. Set in the Netherlands it is a mixture of history and ghost story, parable and biography. I wonder though if the ending could have been less of a shock?
Moring's style is beautiful, everything about it is beautiful and the imagery is stunning. I dropped this one for now because I just couldn't get into it. I'm on page 175 and there have been "wow" moments but then those moments have quickly faded. "Babylon" hasn't grabbed me - maybe it isn't the right time so I am going to lay it on the shelf for now and maybe come back to it for another try. I gave it 2 stars because I was bored, not becuase it is a bad book.
Set in the Netherlands (Möring is Dutch), the skeleton of the story is a man and his niece/book agent are trapped in a supposedly empty house during a white-out blizzard. The flesh on those story-bones is Nathan Hollander's retracing of his very odd family's history, revolving around his beloved uncle Herman. The ending is a major let-down, but the family story/ies is/are really fascinating and the mystery element is fun too.
Wow, this book had all the elements of a great read. History, mystery, ghosts, sex, enough "intelligence", twists and turns. It was like a really good "beach read" but way too heavy and full of depth to really be considered that. The ending left me a little shocked, a little unfulfilled, a little like, "Well, now I have a lot of questions!"
This book was difficult to read as it kept jumping through time. The narrative was hard to follow because I kept getting confused if we were in the past or present, and if we were in the past, how far back did we go. Plus, it was trashy. Incest and sexually explicit material made me literally throw away this book.
I want to rate this book higher because ithe writing was so beautifuly done but the story line never came together ....infact the auther did a thelma & louis and drove the book right offa cliff. It even hit the rocks several times on the way down. I rooted for the story to come together but, alas, no.
I enjoyed the middle of this book the most. I picked up Cees Nooteboom right after (written 15 years prior to In Babylon) and saw too many similarities. It makes me think Moring is relying a little to heavily on the successes of another Dutch author.
Gnoe Graasland
Geen idee wat ik er vandaag de dag van zou vinden, maar toen ik dit boek in mijn vroege studentenjaren las, vond ik het geweldig. Zoals de rest van mijn omgeving; het was indertijd een must-read.
Heel goed boek, maar niet waar ik nu behoefte aan heb. Gaat in op het Jodendom en het daarbij komende gevoel van nergens thuishoren.
Mijn jaarlijkse nieuwe kans voor de Nederlandstalige literatuur; weer ernaast. Komaan Nederlandstalige literatuur, doe beter je best!
Ayelet Waldman
This novel is very, very European. By which I mean, if I were smarter and more sophisticated, I probably would have loved it.
Officially withdrawn from The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Libraries.

Translated from the Dutch by Stacey Knecht.

Dedication: To Hanneke and my parents

Opening THE LAST TIME I ever saw my Uncle Herman, he was lying on a king-size bed in the finest room at the Hotel Memphis, in the company of six people: the hotel manager, a doctor, two police officers with crckling walkie-talkies, a girl who couldn't have been more than eighteen, and me.

A good story of good storytelling.
my favorite novel
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Marcel Möring was born in 1957 in Enschede, an industrial town near the Dutch-German border, where he attended a Montessori primary school. In the late sixties his family moved north, to Assen, a small town moderately famous for its annual TT motor races. He finished secondary school and studied Dutch literature for two years, then went from one odd job to another. Since he had already decided to...more
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