Cheryl's Reviews > In the Dutch Mountains

In the Dutch Mountains by Cees Nooteboom
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Jul 11, 12

bookshelves: netherlands, literary, literature, fiction, european-literature
Read on July 11, 2012 — I own a copy

Disappointed, in both me and the book. I'm not smart enough to appreciate the book, but I still think the story really is just too wandering and self-indulgent. Either way, I was not beguiled by the writing so I don't care.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Fionnuala (last edited Jul 12, 2012 01:30AM) (new)

Fionnuala I didn't know anything about this book before coming across your review in my updates, Cheryl but it gives me a chance to comment on something I feel strongly about and which is one of the reasons I follow reviews on goodreads. For the most part, goodreads reviews are honest and unprejudiced accounts of the experience of reading particular books and so, once you have figured out that a particular reviewer rates books more or less as you do, you can then use them as a reliable guide to what to read in the future. The blurb on the back of the book, on the other hand is not a reliable guide at all as I have found to my cost several times recently. I see that Julian Barnes, whose writing I like a lot, called this book 'beguiling' but you weren't beguiled at all. So we have to ask ourselves what exactly Barnes was trying not to say when he used such a word to describe another writer's work, especially when they probably shared a publisher. I also feel that when the writer's thinking is particularly obscure, we shouldn't feel bad about admitting that we have found it hard to access and we shouldn't be afraid to rail against self-indulgent writing either, as you do here, Cheryl. Don't writers who publish their work have a duty to their readers not to be too obscure and self indulgent?

message 2: by Cheryl (last edited Jul 12, 2012 11:34PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cheryl Thanks for your comments, Fionnuala. Yes, I like Julian Barnes too, so I felt weirdly as if I'd let him down because I didn't like it (!), and couldn't see what he saw. It's like someone is pointing at something beautiful or extraordinary, way off out there in the distance, and I'm saying "Where? Where? I can't see it, show me again".
Interesting point you made about them probably sharing the same publisher though.
I have been wanting to try something by this writer for a long time, because I understand he is something like a national treasure almost in Holland. This book was picked up for just $1 at a used book sale, so it owed me nothing.
After I read it, I saw a review of it by JM Coetzee, in the NYRB -- oh my, even the review was beyond me. It's probably a good book for dissection in a critical reading class, but then it's just all showing off, so it's time for me to move on.
I will still keep an eye out for something else by Nooteboom, but it will have to be another bargain at next year's charity book sale before I will part with the cash.

message 3: by Fionnuala (new)

Fionnuala Have you read The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker? He's Dutch too and writes beautifully.

Cheryl Yes I loved that book

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