This is the story of a genius doctor who thinks he is challenged by God in the creation of life. Set in a small village in the German speakiNice book.
This is the story of a genius doctor who thinks he is challenged by God in the creation of life. Set in a small village in the German speaking part of Belgium, close to the Dutch and German border, the story unfolds as the doctor returns to his childhood place with his three newborn sons. Early in the story there are subtle (well, actually not that subtle) hints which immediately set the whole thing in a creepy, eerie atmosphere. That atmosphere is gradually expanded up onto the point where you almost feel physically uncomfortable. Still, you keep reading because you want to know "if he is really going to do it".
It started out as a typical 3 star book. The writing style is nothing special, the story was a bit shallow and predictable. But the second part, introducing simultaneously the youth and early career of the doctor, brought another half star to the total. Then the third part, where the first two parts come together, earn the book a well deserved fourth star. The third part is really good (in a suspense kind of way).
Actually I think this is a typical 3.5 star book. I gave it four stars because of the satisfying last part. If the author would write in a nicer style, leave some of the suggestions and hinting under water and open to reader, I think the book as whole would improve.
this is the final book in the Muggepuut trilogy. Very predictable, very Brusselmans, very good. If you are not a fan of Brusselmans, subtract 1 start,this is the final book in the Muggepuut trilogy. Very predictable, very Brusselmans, very good. If you are not a fan of Brusselmans, subtract 1 start, if you're a Brusselmans groupy, still don't add the fifth, four is enough....more
Continuation of the downfall of the Deschryver family against the background of a disintegrating country (Belgium). Must read if you read the first paContinuation of the downfall of the Deschryver family against the background of a disintegrating country (Belgium). Must read if you read the first part of the trilogy (duh). Somehow I liked the first novel better so therefore only 4 stars....more
**spoiler alert** So here it is: the final novel in the excellent monster trilogy. Whereas I had some reservations about the second volume, this one m**spoiler alert** So here it is: the final novel in the excellent monster trilogy. Whereas I had some reservations about the second volume, this one makes up for that completely. And more.
I was completely blown away by the start where you find out that Katrien engaged in some serious self-mutilation. Typical for Lanoye you'll find out about the events leading up to that act far later in the book.
To summarise the trilogy: everyone of us has a monster inside of themselves and most of us only start living after death....more
very nice book by one of Holland's contemporary top authors. It's about a teenager whose grandfather was a SS camp guard who wants to understand suffevery nice book by one of Holland's contemporary top authors. It's about a teenager whose grandfather was a SS camp guard who wants to understand suffering and therefore decides to comfort the enemies of happiness: the Jews.
The first 250 pages or so are hilariously funny (the scene in the sauna where his parents are exposing the dubious past of his grandfather, him deciding to translate Mein Kampf into Jiddish, him getting circumcised at age 17 by a half blind old amateur cheese selling Jew and so on). But I felt the story slip away a bit and slow down too much from page 250 - 400. At the end the narrative is picking up speed again and finishes nicely in a grand finale.
recommended read and will certainly read more of this author....more
I started reading this book since Du Perron and Ter Braak are the heroes of Voskuil and Vogels. It follows more or less in the tradition of Stendhal iI started reading this book since Du Perron and Ter Braak are the heroes of Voskuil and Vogels. It follows more or less in the tradition of Stendhal incorporating autobiographical elements in literature
Wonderful autobiographical story of Du Perron's alter ego Arthur Ducroo. The story from his youth and teen years on early 19th century, colonial Java, is intertwined with journal like chapters from his later years in Paris and Brussels.
I especially liked his accounts of his discussions and conversations with (now) famous contemporaries among which Andre Malraux (Heverle in the novel), Menno ter Braak (Wijdenes) and Alexandre Alexeieff (Goeraeff).
The chapters in Paris are highly political as they reflect on the social and political turmoil of the Interbellum.
The final chapter especially appealed to me. There, Ducroo is discussing with Malraux about the 'intellectual's' stance in the communist and socialist movements / revolutions and against the national socialist movement. Malraux argues that ideology supersedes the human or person. He says: "You can ignore the persons if you can empathyse strong enough for the myth (or ideology ed.)". Du Perron answers: "I do not believe I will ever be able to do that. Maybe I am not intellectual enough for that. If everything comes down to war, I will only able to wage war next to my friends".
To me, that is the key to the whole book and it also feels a lot like the human philosophy of his contemporary Camus (Camus is my friend). Humanity is not striving for abstract noble ideals (myths). Humanity is unconditionally helping your friend because he is your friend....more
After reading the first paragraph of the first story I was completely blown away by the beautiful language3 short stories of this gifted Dutch author.
After reading the first paragraph of the first story I was completely blown away by the beautiful language. I thought it was going to be a 5 star book. But the level dropped a bit (from amazing to very good).
To give an impression about the atmosphere and style of the book I'd like to quote a part of the first paragraph of the third story (Dutch):
De blinde kapitein was in de kelder ondergebracht, omdat hij voor niemand nog nut had. Hij had ook gedood kunnen worden, maar daar was blijkbaar geen reden voor geweest. Nu zat hij er al zo lang, dat hij bijna vergeten was. Alleen een dikke Turk daalde soms af om hem met een stok te slaan.(...)
This is the story of politics, media and consultancy. How they are intertwined and interconnected and keep each other in a dead lock. How they are disThis is the story of politics, media and consultancy. How they are intertwined and interconnected and keep each other in a dead lock. How they are disconnected from reality and how reality sometimes inconveniently penetrates that hollow world of lies and machinations.
I liked it. I am very happy I was pointed to Thomese as I like his use of the Dutch language. There are constantly passages and paragraphs which make me think his best work is yet to come.
Warning: if you don't like words like fuck, cunt, pussy, cunt, fuck, fuck, whore or fuck, this book is not for you....more
I'm not spending any comments on it other the author's own hints.
In the book, the author and his best friend J. Kessels take with them, as luggage: BuI'm not spending any comments on it other the author's own hints.
In the book, the author and his best friend J. Kessels take with them, as luggage: Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson novels. Nuff said. Add to that a Malcolm Lowry quote somewhere near the end and you know it's necessary to read this.
To convince the Dutch reading this review:
"Ik herkende in zijn landschapsbeschrijvingen vaag de Noordoostpolder, met zijn typische barakken annex varkensstallen die zo deden denken aan de Joodse nederzettingen destijds in Polen en de Oekraine"
"Het geweten was een mysterieus gebied, en dat kon je maar beter zo laten"...more
My first introduction to Grunberg and a pleasant one. Great storyteller but somehow you get the feeling that towards the end of the book he falls intoMy first introduction to Grunberg and a pleasant one. Great storyteller but somehow you get the feeling that towards the end of the book he falls into repetition. Will certainly read some more novels by this author to see how his style developed....more
narrative fanatically try to make you give up reading this book. But I didn't. And I am happy that I did not.
The novel consist of 3 parts, bundled innarrative fanatically try to make you give up reading this book. But I didn't. And I am happy that I did not.
The novel consist of 3 parts, bundled in 2 books and a third book which contains the fourth part with poems. The first book ('Cancer') describes the life of an Italian family during the sickbed of one of the family members (uncle Mario) and the role of the Dutch wife (Berta) of one of the nephews of Mario (Stefano). In the second book, you find out that the author (Berta) has written 'Cancer' to show her view on her married life to Stefano, her husband. Stefano completely 'misinterprets' the message of the novel and the rest of the 2nd book is about the decaying relationship between Berta and Stefano. The Dutch author JJ Voskuil and his wife also play an important role in this book (as Jacob and Wiesje). Finally the 3rd book describes the life of the author (F. Vogels) from her earliest memories to the moment she goes to Italy meets Stefano. That third book mainly explores the relationship of the author with her mother, father and her brother (Thijs). In this book the author no longer refers to herself as Berta but uses her own name Frida.
What I liked about the book is that it is relentlessly seeking for the quintessence of the authors being. It does not try to hide or dramatise any events from her life. By meticuluosly describing every detail of her life Vogels forces herself to understand and accept the inevitable consequences of her actions and inactions. Like Pirandello, the author finds that there is no such thing as oneself. You only live in the minds and through others. But where Pirandello explores the opportunities of this newly found insight, Vogels feels an abhorrent responsibility for the roles she plays in other peoples' lifes.
Of course, adding a third book with poems doesn't hurt in getting my appreciation.
This book is not for everyone. I do not recommend it. It takes courage and perserverance to finish. Maybe, if you like Voskuil, this is for you.
side note: I heavily doubted if I should write this review in English or in Dutch. Partly because the book feels very Dutch to me and partly because I don't even know if the book is translated into any other language than Dutch....more