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Nooit meer slapen

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  6,699 ratings  ·  250 reviews
Nooit meer slapen is het meesterlijke verhaal van de jonge geoloog Alfred Issendorf, die in het moerassige noorden van Noorwegen onderzoek wil verrichten om de hypothese van zijn leermeester en promotor Sibbelee te staven. Issendorf is ambitieus: hij hoopt dat hem op deze reis iets groots te wachten staat, dat zijn naam aan een belangrijk wetenschappelijk feit zal worden v ...more
Paperback, 251 pages
Published 1974 by De Bezige Bij (first published February 1966)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch-flemish
Gezellig om thuis te blijven

Beyond Sleep is a novel of the Dutchman Abroad, a genre not without charm but perhaps an acquired taste. Its moral is typical of the genre: Gezellig om thuis te blijven, It's probably best not to leave the front garden. It was written in 1966 but remained untranslated into English for forty years. This delay makes it even more of a period piece, expressing some of the most important self-criticisms of Dutch society of the time at an effective and safe distance.

Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dutch-literature
The most neat Dutch novel I have ever read: a cunningly balanced composition (contrary to the other work of Hermans), beautifully written (especially the desolate 'jungle' of Lapland), and with a clear focus on the absurdity of life, religion and even science. The notorious gloominess of Hermans is all around, especially in the 'philosopical' conversations of Alfred with other hikers and with himself, but it isn't vexatious, on the contrary, it seems very natural. Beautiful.
Apr 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
how strange that this book has made such an impression on me; the topic is not among my interests, there is not much going on and the protagonist is a bit of an insecure, self-centred idiot - still the descriptions of the norwegian landscape, the highly philosophical conversations between the characters and in general hermans' style create a strangely gripping if desolate atmosphere.
Stephen Durrant
W.F. Hermans (1921-1995) is one of the most highly acclaimed post-war Dutch writers. The first two-thirds or so of this novel is Kafkaesque. A somewhat hapless young scientist, eager to prove that small circles of water in northern Norway were caused by meteors, joins up with three more hardened and extremely strange scientists on a geological expedition. He is hardly up to the task and stumbles from one mishap to another, all absurd and at times quite funny. But Hermans seems to have a more ser ...more
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really hate mosquitoes.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
To be honest I'm not a big fan of dutch literature, but I actually enjoyed this book. Although the story started of slow, it slowly started to develop until I was really intrigued by the story line.

What made the book special in my opinion was the fact that everything you could think of was written down. For example, when Alfred is walking 25 kilometers and starts to get tired, he counts his steps and is encouraging himself to continue his journey. Every normal person does this (at least I think
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Finished: 29.09.2018
Genre: novel
Rating: C+
Dutch is my second language.
It is time I started 20 books by Dutch authors considered 20th C must reads.
W.F. Hermans is the first one on the list.

Oh wow, this was really really boring.

I was kind of ashamed that I hadn't read a Dutch book this year, but also in general, I read very little books that are published in the Netherlands. So I found a list made by a big Dutch newspaper with the 10 best Dutch books ever. I had only read one book on that list and that was Het huis van de moskee and I really liked that one plus the list contained some other well known books that you "have to read", so I thought; let's try to read the books on this
Gelezen voor Group Read #30 van de Netherlands & Flanders group. Zie onder ander bericht #17 aldaar.

What an incredibly good book this is... It's extremely well-written; a truly great command of language.

I’d read De donkere kamer van Damokles (The Darkroom of Damocles), the book Willem Frederik Hermans is probably most famous for, a couple of years ago but Nooit meer slapen (Beyond Sleep), published some eight years later, is far better in my opinion.

Nooit meer slapen tells the story of Alfred Is
Yuri Sharon
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Willem Frederik Hermans is yet another excellent foreign writer it has taken anglo-sphere publishers too long to translate.
Written over half a century ago, Beyond Sleep is set in a world before GPS and widespread communications, when it was all too easy to get lost. Hermans’ depiction of the sheer physicality of tramping across arctic tundra, under relentless attack from mosquitoes and flies, with a heavy pack, inappropriate footwear and faulty equipment is harrowing. The constant daylight erod
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
all that's written here i've experienced myself as a student in geology. but i read it 20 y after my study had commenced. like not watching the movie before you read the book. don't read a book before you experience yourself. hermans was not a geologist himself but a geographer. the weak point are his geological observations that are quite tourist like and not from a professional level. i am gratefull that i didn't read it then because his portrait of this student is without much to praise. the ...more
Aug 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: stand-alone
Ugh, hated this book.
It was boring with a very annoying main character and I don't think I will ever pick up another book by this author.
School made me read it and also helped me realize why I almost never read any book willingly during high school. Most of these ''Dutch literature'' books are just not my thing and bore me to death...
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: holland-home
I liked the book `cause my father was an amateur geologist and he inspired my dear cousin to study geology as well as the neighbor`s boy. I have no clue about geology, but appreciated the stories ideas and emotions.
Andy Weston
Most of Hermans's novel is set in Finnmark, the former name of the northernmost county in Norway, these days the majority of it is the Varangerhalvøya Nasjonalpark. I have been planning a trip to this part of the Arctic for a while, could well be late summer 2021. Despite it being set in 1961 (my birth year), with its pretty much always adverse weather conditions of one sort or other, and savage mosquitos on every page, this is not the ideal book to read when planning such a trip..
Young Dutch g
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Perhaps I just didn't understand the book and that's why I don't like it. The other books I read by Hermans made a bigger impression on me. I found it hard to sympathize with the main character in this book. What I liked is that his analogies and fantasies were amusing and original. His opinions and descriptions of other people annoy me though. For example, the use of the n-word was considered normal in the Netherlands when this book was written but today it's off-putting. And what annoys me as ...more
Geert Reinalda
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: collection
Great book, a quick read! Amazing how the writer can make a pretty dull subject so fascinating and entertaining to read. Definitely going to read more books from him!
Kobe Bryant
It's funny just how Dutch the book is
Anne Vivliohomme
To summarise this book: Failure. Imagine something going wrong, and then add some more disaster, and you're not even close to the failures of the main character. Though sadly, I wouldn't be surprised if this were to overcome me.
May 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fictive
Having put this on my to-read list in 2007, I wasn't quite sure what this book would be about or why I thought I'd like it. Luckily, I know myself well and/or the review that I read was spot on.

The story of our geologist Alfred's journey in Finnmark is slowly paced. Alfred has a horrible time but ends up with a kind of Stockholm Syndrome for the desolate landscape, constant wetness and attack by mosquitoes and fies, and ill-preparedness of the whole thing. It's a wilderness trial, and that he c
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has left quite an impression on me. Not immediately upon finishing though, but the book kept popping into my mind days after I’d finished it as if the book had wormed its way into my mind. That could be because the plot of a guy going abroad to do research to make a name for himself in science resonated with me because I am also going abroad to do research in a few weeks. But maybe it was the oppressive underlying atmosphere of dread and futility that kept me reading. It reads a bit as ...more
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alfred is ambitious. He wants to do something exceptional. He doesn’t just want to get a PhD, he wants to get it by finding something truly remarkable. His ambition comes with a certain degree of arrogance. He looks down on a lot of people, like the near-blind (and in his mind self-indulgent) geology professor who “wastes” Alfred’s time by giving him unsolicited lectures. This arrogance seems to be a shield, meant to protect him from a deeprooted sense of insecurity. He distrusts people, assumin ...more
Reij Rosello
Half road movie half bildungroman; a Dutch student on an research trip, where "trip" is learning experience about what research constitutes. Paranoia about unhelpful peers and mentors (portrait of blind professor in Oslo and hostility between Dutch and Norwegian scholars). Physicality of trip displaces the object of research. Irony at the end: possible account of what he has been looking all along and does not see when it appears (meteorite). Death of companion and entries in his journal turns n ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strangely, this wasn't a brilliant read for me. And I say strange, 'cause Hermans is my favorite writer of all time and his themes are never changing (which is my favorite part of his approach). But this title didn't do for me what (for instance) 'De donkere kamer van Damokles', 'Au Pair' and 'Uit talloos veel miljoenen' did. Maybe my expectations were to high. Say that if I read "De donkere kamer" before 'Nooit meer slapen', my opinion of "De donkere kamer" would be different. I don't know... M ...more
Anders Choy
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Beyond Sleep" is an existentialist book strongly influenced by a masculine Kafkaesque tone, but then spiced up with some low key deadpan dry humour.
It essentially revolves around an average scientist who wants to make it big - partly to make his father proud - only to find out, in the face of the pure and tough nature of Norwegian Finnmark, that he is just that, average - or at least, just human. A wonderful conclusion and a wonderful journey to witness.
Jun 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
I hated everything about it. There is barely a recognizable plot and there is no action whatsoever. I do know the ending and that actually sounded quite interesting, but I couldn't put myself to finishing this book. And I am actually very glad I didn't have to endure that piece of suffering longer than I already have. Ugh. 0.9/5 Just because there were some exciting things in the ending WHICH I DIDN'T EVEN READ. Sorry for the caps :P But this novel deserves to be shouted at.
Oct 20, 2012 marked it as abandoned
Hermans surely knows how to write. I love his prose, the way he evokes the landscape above the polar circle. I recommend Hermans to anyone looking for a good literary writer.
However, I really couldn't handle the main character´s depression. I don't do well with narrow perspective, depressed characters point-of-views, so I put the book aside.
Feb 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Quote review by Sean M.:
The story of a 19 year old geology student looking for meteors in the North of Norway, where the sun never sets. Mostly he ends up trying to not to get eaten alive by mosquitoes or be shown up by his clever Norwegian companions. A bit surreal, philosophical and funny too.
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netherlands
A dark satire on a geologist's quest to do research for his phd thesis against all odds. No sleep, just death, embaressment, jealousy and plenty of mosquitoes in the highlands of Norway.
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Dutch classic, not really into it. The protagonist is needy for a character thats supposed to be over 20...
Michael Haase
A book about a man falling short of his expectations. How fitting then that this book should fall so short of mine. I had great patience with this book. I trekked across 178 pages of it, at least a whole 2/3rds of the thing, but sadly I found the plot is just as empty as the book's landscape.

The story progresses at an UNBEARABLY slow pace, with the narrator's journey (the main focus of the book) not even beginning until about 50 pages in. And even then a lot of the text is just given to the nar
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Netherlands & Fla...: Ended - Group Read #30 : Nooit meer slapen by Willem Frederik Hermans 27 75 Jul 18, 2016 01:36AM  
Dawnrise: * Check in! 9 10 Feb 22, 2014 10:27PM  
Dawnrise: Discussion 11 11 Feb 21, 2014 05:35AM  
Dawnrise: * Wrap-up! 7 10 Feb 12, 2014 08:03AM  

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Willem Frederik Hermans is one of the greatest post-war Dutch authors. Before devoting his entire life to writing, Hermans had been teaching Physical Geography at the University of Groningen for many years. He had already started writing and publishing in magazines at a young age. His polemic and provocative style led to a court case as early as 1952. His caustic pieces were compiled in Mandarijne ...more

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