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Lost Paradise

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  462 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
In "Lost Paradise," Nooteboom sets out to connect two seemingly unrelated strangers whom he has glimpsed on his travels, and to explore the major impact that small interactions can have on the course of our journeys.
A beautiful woman aboard a Berlin-bound flight becomes Alma, a young lady who leaves her parents' Sao Paolo home on a hot summer night in a fit of depression.
ebook, 160 pages
Published November 1st 2008 by Grove Press (first published 2004)
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Dec 05, 2007 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I read in that A.S.Byatt, called Nooteboom one of the greatest 20th century writers, I was hesitant to pick it up even though it sounded intriguing. Because I remember being equally intrigued by Possession, which I found to be an arrogant, overly intellectual piece of writing. Or maybe I was just really annoyed at a Loyola medieval history grad student acquaintance who carried Possession around like his personal bible. Anyway it didn't bode well for Mr. Nooteboom.

However, I was pleasantly
Jan 31, 2008 Mikel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nooteboom has never failed to make leaps that others stand idly wondering about. angels angels galore, aborigines, and connections across disparate spaces and times. Any of his books are amazing, in particular Roads to Santiago, his travelogue essays about his love affair with spain, spanish history, architecture, and painting.
Jennifer (JC-S)
Mar 28, 2008 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
This compact, beautifully written novel demonstrates how it is possible to write effectively and economically while exploring complex themes.

I especially enjoyed the thoughts about Australian indigenous clutures:

‘All kinds of things were sacred but nothing had been preserved in a book.’

Feb 03, 2009 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brian by: Ben
Shelves: read-2009
When I stand outside here, I do not just see the stars, I hear them.

My first Nooteboom and it was a good one. This book is in two parts, two stories, separate stories, but they're related. And as the title might suggest he taps into the energies from Paradise Lost. I've never read Milton's Paradise Lost but I'm sure there are some theme overlaps or a game of theme tag going on in this book. But then maybe not. Like I said, I never read Milton though there are a few excerpts of his epic poem scat
Nov 04, 2009 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this, but I'm not quite sure why. I guess it was the author's "Prologue", where he describes seeing a pretty woman on a short aeroplane flight from Amsterdam to Berlin who's carrying a slender book, the title of which he can't see, and that turns out to be...

Well, I don't want a spoiler here.

Let's just say that behind the entire thing is a sense of a "wink and a nod and 'know-what-I-mean'" which I found convivial. As if you were standing at a bar, having a beer with a friend who's
Lauren Albert
Nov 06, 2009 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Like others, I'm not sure what to make of this. It seems to be how lives can cross in ways that seem miraculous and effect those involved the same way. Both spare and replete.
It's a Dutch book and I had to make an "Australia" shelf for it. :P All my other books that are set in Australian are, well, Australian. But this isn't, hence the distinction. And okay it's not just a book set in Australia, but a lot of it is and that was what grabbed me the most. The girls wanting to visit, and then finally doing so, and it was beautiful. It was so real to me, so Australian, even if they went to places I haven't visited myself.

The Todd River shown on the map is in reality an oc
Nesa Sivagnanam
Jul 18, 2011 Nesa Sivagnanam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Nooteboom sets out to connect two seemingly unrelated strangers whom he has glimpsed on his travels -- a beautiful woman aboard a Berlin-bound flight and a haggard-looking man on a Holland train platform -- and to explore the major impact that small interactions can have on the course of our journeys.

The beautiful woman becomes Alma, a young woman of German descent, who leaves her parents' Sao Paolo home on a hot summer night in a fit of depression. Her engine dies in one of the ci
Jigar Brahmbhatt
"Lost Paradise" starts with a comprehensible premise and quickly lingers into poetic musings with no seeming concern for the plot development. I was interestingly in the right temperament, and was happy to go where Nooteboom happened to take me. Maybe, that is why I wasn't startled as much when the main character, after surviving a horrible gang rape in Brazil, ends up in Australian outbacks looking for... well, something. Her intention is to visit the 'Sickness Dreaming Place'. Along the way, s ...more
Jun 26, 2012 Ian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a book is built around a premise so airy, so fragile, that any attempt at analysis threatens to scatter it to the wind. Such a book is Lost Paradise by Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom. This short novel describes the lives of two people who encounter each other under very odd circumstances and almost immediately lose touch, and then encounter each other again a few years later under different and somewhat less odd circumstances. Alma is a beautiful young woman from Brazil struggling to over ...more
Nov 07, 2012 Rianor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, own, reviewed
If you were going to search for a paradise in a present world, where would you go? And if you found it, you have to be doubting whether it still would be one. A paradise, a place in past, how it meets the present, how people are more and more drawn to it is the theme of this mesmerizing book.
Nooteboom is a master of travelogue, he makes vivid not only the scenery, but also the scent of the place. Here he uses it to intensify character contemplation.
The themes themselves are utterly European and
Mar 19, 2013 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exquisite tale full of symbolism, sensuality and taste.
I finished the book in just one sitting and after I turned the last page, I felt as if I had savoured an expensive rare bitter sweet chocolate.
Two seemingly disconnected stories in two separate parts.
In the first one, Alma and Almut from Brazil decide to make their dream come true and travel to Australia, a country which has always been fascinating to them. Once there, they change in different and unexpected ways, and while Alma is able t
Sep 15, 2013 DROPPING OUT rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book has two somewhat interrelated parts. Where I found the first part mesmerizing, I found my interest flagging in the second. Alma and Almut are two young Brazilian women. Alma is "European," that is, both her parents are from Germany. Alma is, on the other hand, perhaps "more Brazilian," her family containing many national and ethnic elements.

Both are fascinated with Australia and with the esoteric culture of the indigenous people. They travel to Australia, where Almut the European seesth
Sep 14, 2013 Stefan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Especially impressive because of the acute way it deals with Australia!
Apr 09, 2014 Bert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Zij weet dat er maar één ding is dat hij wil vragen, maar het is nog niet de tijd. Zij weet alles van daarvoor, haar onaanraakbaarheid, dat wat hij niet kon weten. Een ogenblik had ze zich bijna laten verleiden, ze zou hem nooit vertellen waarom, omdat het met medelijden te maken had gehad, met wat zij in de weken daarvoor had meegemaakt. Hij kon niet weten wie ze was, en dat was goed. Zij kende zijn verhaal al evenmin, en ook dat was goed. Zo moest het blijven.' (p.133)

M. Sarki
Oct 27, 2014 M. Sarki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful and comfortable read however unremarkable it ultimately proved itself to be.
Jul 10, 2014 Casper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Het eerste boek in de reeks Zomerlezen dit jaar werd er een van Cees Nooteboom. Een auteur die zich vorig jaar voor mij bewezen had met de geslaagde novelle Het volgende verhaal. Ik zag dat de man een heel aantal boeken van vergelijkbare lengte had geschreven en dacht dat pleit voor hem. Er zouden meer Nootebooms volgen. Voor deze vakantie koos ik Paradijs verloren, omdat dat veelbelovend begint in een vliegtuig. Toepasselijk om mee te beginnen wanneer ons vliegtuig richting Portugal zou opstijg ...more
Jul 18, 2014 Jasminka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Jeste vrlo elokventno i divno napisana knjižica, na početku interesantna i obećavajuća, čak i obrazovna, ali me je kraj zbunio i pitam se - jesam li razumela sve što se razumeti moglo ili sam se i ja izgubila među svim onim anđelima u Izgubljenom Raju?
Aug 17, 2014 Mirrani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you pick up a novel that is unique, you want it to be an interesting experience. Half the time you end up with a questionable one instead of an enjoyable one and wish you had picked up something else. That is not the case with this book, which was beautifully written, well thought out and perfect in its uniqueness. It was a quick read, but a wonderful one. The two stories told seem totally unrelated to each other until you realize the connection and once that hits you everything has come to ...more
Dec 21, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If the Eskimos have fifty words for snow then the Scots have fifty for rain. One of these is smirr which means mist-like precipitation; you don’t necessarily realise you’re being rained on but you nevertheless end up wringing from head to foot. That’s what this book felt like to me. Some authors chuck their meanings in your face like a bucket of water; others, Nooteboom in this case, lead you down a meandering path and distract you with all sorts of interesting distractions—mostly angels in his ...more
Feb 23, 2015 Dennis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a book of empty beauty for me. There are two apparently separate stories which eventually intersect in an improbable and unbelievable way. Is it beautiful? Yes, but not in a satisfactory way in my opinion. The Brazilian protagonist of the first story sees the incomprehensible magic and sad present and future of Australian aborigines but doesn't give much of a thought to the same qualities in the Amazonian native people in her own country nor to the class difference between herself and t ...more
Joe Cummings
Mar 27, 2015 Joe Cummings rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old—
This knight so bold—
And o’er his heart a shadow—
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow—
‘Shadow,’ said he,
‘Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?’

‘Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,’
The shade replied,—
‘If you seek for E
It is the first book of Cees Nooteboom that I have read and it will not be the last one! Lost Paradise is a simple story of a girl who sees the world differently, but a story told in beautiful language. When I was reading it, I was losing the contact with reality. It was hard to put it down. The only part I did not enjoy was the beginning of the second part, however the book regain its unique style after a few chapters.
Jean-Paul Werner Walshaw-Sauter


„Zum ersten Mal habe ich begriffen, was man im Mittelalter unter der Sphärenharmonie verstand. Ich stehe im Freien und sehe die Sterne nicht nur, sondern höre sie. […] Wer hat bloss die Engel aus der Welt verbannt, obwohl ich sie immer noch um mich spüre? […] Hier liege ich mitten in der Wüste und höre sie, ein unvorstellbares Jubeln in der Stille. […] Ich bin angekommen. Und wenn ich wieder gehe, brauche ich nichts mitzunehmen, ich habe alles bei mir.“


This is the story of two people whose pat
Lukasz Pruski
Oct 09, 2015 Lukasz Pruski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Angels, it is said, are often unsure whether they pass among the living or the dead." (Rainer Maria Rilke)

When trying to characterize Cees Nooteboom's novel Lost Paradise (2005) in one word, "ethereal" immediately comes to mind. Synonyms of "ethereal" are many: "delicate, exquisite, dainty, elegant, graceful, fragile, airy, fine, subtle". Except for "fragile", all these adjectives fit the book perfectly. I would add three more adjectives to specify my perception of the book: "whimsical, enchant
Dec 11, 2015 Tijana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sejs Notebom već godinama se pominje kao kandidat pred svaku dodelu Nobelove nagrade za književnost, ali pošto piše na holandskom, slabo je dostupan kod nas. Zato sam se i obradovala što ga Arhipelag objavljuje.
Međutim... eh. Da, Notebom sjajno piše. Ali kad radnja neke knjige moze da se sažme u tri pojma sa TV Tropes... e, to je problem. (view spoiler)
Jun 07, 2016 Hugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nooteboom is a unique stylist, and this is another beautiful miniature - a cryptic, allusive and dreamlike meditation on the nature of paradise.
Οταν πριν από καμιά 20ετία είχα τυχαία διαβάσει τις Ιεροτελεστίες του ιδίου συγγραφέα, είχα τόσο πολύ εντυπωσιαστεί που ακόμη το θυμάμαι ως ένα από τα απολαυστικότερα πράγματα που έχω διαβάσει ποτέ (συμπεριλαμβανομένων και των μενού εστιατορίων). Το συγκεκριμένο όμως, Lost Paradise, που μάλλον δεν έχει μεταφραστεί στα ελληνικά, ενώ ξεκινά μ' έναν εντυπωσιακό, σχεδόν μαγικό πρόλογο και καταληγεί με έναν εξίσου δυνατό επίλογο, είναι άνισο στο δύο κύρια μέρη του. Ιδίως κατά το πρώτο μέρος (ένας κατ ...more
Jul 17, 2016 Rodrigo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
(almost 4 stars)

I read this book very fast but Im not sure what I thought of it. I preferred the first part of the book (Almas story). Throughout the book not much really happens or is explained. But there are two stories: one of a woman and one of a man. Both are looking for paradise. Neither really finds it... The prologue is the author in the heavens on a plane and the epilogue finishes his story. He is also travelling somewhere.

What made this book so readable was the interesting writing styl
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Cees Nooteboom (born Cornelis Johannes Jacobus Maria Nooteboom, 31 July 1933, in the Hague) is a Dutch author. He has won the Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren, the P. C. Hooft Award, the Pegasus Prize, the Ferdinand Bordewijk Prijs for Rituelen, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature and the Constantijn Huygens Prize, and has frequently been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in ...more
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“I looked out of the window and saw him sitting in the early rays of the sun, a dark silhouette in the sand, motionless as a rock, and knew at once that I had substituted one memory for another and that this one would leave me with as little peace as the other one had. I would exist in someone else's mind, without knowing who I was in there.” 8 likes
“Y, sin embargo, cuando cae la noche y el espectáculo ha terminado, él y yo nos quedamos de nuevo solos con el silencio, solos con una infinita escasez de palabras; nunca imaginé que éstas pudieran ser tan parcas. Pero a mí todo me parece bien. ¿O acaso me engaño a mí misma? ¿Existe la pornografía sin porno? Mejor dicho, ¿existe la pornografía únicamente como concepto, sin representación gráfica alguna? Pura pornografía del espíritu, un estado en que la mentira transforma la naturaleza de cada acto -caricia, beso, orgasmo- en algo obsceno y perverso. Reflexiono sobre todas estas cosas, aquí, tendida en el suelo mientras espero que él pronuncie alguna de sus escasas palabras, a que vuelva a tocarme y yo a olvidarme de mis pensamientos.” 1 likes
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