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The Vanishing

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Petrol gauge broken, anxiety and tempers flaring, young lovers Rex and Saskia, heading for the South of France, pull in at a service station to refuel. The moment they stop they make up and Rex buries two coins in the base of a fence post as a sign of their love. Saskia goes off to buy cold drinks and vanishes. Eight years later Rex is still haunted by her. Then one day he sees scrawled on the grime of a yellow car parked outside his window the words REX YOU'RE SO SWEET, and the obsession burns in his blood again.

The Vanishing has been filmed twice, once in Holland and once in the USA. Stanley Kubrick told the director George Sluizer that he thought the Dutch film of The Vanishing was even more frightening than his own film, The Shining.

115 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1984

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Tim Krabbé

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 506 reviews
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,151 reviews1,686 followers
September 18, 2022

Saskia e Rex nel film originale del 1988 “Spoorloos – Il mistero della donna scomparsa” di George Sluizer, sceneggiatura di Tim Krabbé.

È il titolo originale di questo breve romanzo, in verità più racconto lungo che romanzo, diviso in cinque capitoli, uscito in Olanda (Krabbé è olandese) nel 1984, e diventato pellicola quattro anni dopo, con la regia di George Sluizer, un film destinato a diventare cult, considerato tra i 50 migliori film horror della storia (a torto perché ha ben poco di horror), addirittura diventato remake americano nel 1993 sempre diretto dallo stesso regista franco-olandese.
Questa avventura in terra a stelle e strisce si è trasformata in un disastro, colpevole una sceneggiatura suicida, uno di quei marchiani e grossolani sfondoni che Hollywood ogni tanto prende quando vuole spettacolizzare a ogni costo.

Raymond Lemorne- Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu

E l’uovo d’oro è il sogno che la scomparsa ha fatto, autentico incubo: essere rinchiusa all’interno di un uovo d’oro disperso nello spazio:
Era completamente buio, non c’era neanche una stella e lei non poteva uscire dall’uovo, e non poteva nemmeno morire. Aveva un’unica speranza: esisteva un altro uovo identico a quello nello spazio: se si fossero scontrati si sarebbero disintegrati a vicenda, e allora tutto sarebbe finito. Ma l’universo era talmente grande!

Proprio quello che le capiterà, in dimensione molto terrestre, anzi, proprio sotto terra, con meno oro e più legno: il concetto di rinchiusa Saskia riesce a portarlo a casa eccome.
Romanzo breve, racconto lungo, raggelante è detto sulla bandella, e finalmente ecco un termine azzeccato.

Jeff Bridges è il Male nel remake americano del 1993, anche questo diretto da George Sluizer.

Non si tratta né di un’indagine investigativa sulla sparizione di Saskia, né del ritratto di un ossessivo compulsivo “collezionista” di vittime sequestrate… In realtà, non si tratta di nulla di quanto d’istinto verrebbe da aspettarsi. Abbastanza presto è chiaro chi è la vittima, poco dopo si sa chi è il colpevole e come ha agito: quello che resta da chiarire è il finale. Che ovviamente non racconto.

Kiefer Sutherland è il fidanzato della scomparsa che continua a cercarla per anni. Ma soprattutto cerca di sapere come e dove sia finita. Non esattamente la stessa cosa.

Krabbé è forse più famoso come scacchista che come scrittore: qui, di sicuro, gli scacchi, che non mi paiono mai nominati, sono ben presenti come gioco di fondo, come sguardo sul mondo, sulla vita (e sulla morte). A muovere Raymond Lemorne sembra essere una sfida con se stesso: ma ancora più, un teorema. Un quesito squisitamente filosofico: fin dove sono in grado di spingermi? Fino a uccidere?

Sandra Bullock è la scomparsa.

Probabilmente se nella vita Raymond Lemorne non fosse un’insegnante di chimica non avrebbe mai formulato la domanda. Se non altro, non avrebbe saputo condurre in porto la risposta.
Il film di Sluizer, sceneggiato dallo stesso Krabbé, che nell’adattamento filmico ha molto modificato il romanzo (alleluja) è citato nei trattati di criminologia per la rigorosa descrizione del prototipo del comportamento di una mente psicopatica. Per tutti gli aspiranti serial killer è possibile che qui ci siano buoni consigli.

Purtroppo nel remake USA, la nuova fidanzata di Rex straripa, diventa coprotagonista. E purtroppo il ruolo è affidato a Nancy Travis.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
May 14, 2012
According to www.Ethnologue.com, Dutch is one of 6808 languages that I can not read...Ouch! Now, I've mostly learned to cope with my multilingual illiteracy, but every so often it returns to haunt me.

Case in point...

I'm sure the original version of Tim Krabbe's cult novel is wonderful. Unfortunately, as a stupid American, I was forced to read the English conversion, which I found stilted and unnatural, and made for a distracting read.
The first day there could be nothing, but Rex still went to look. On foot and without an umbrella, even though it was raining softly.
Passages like the above, which for me lacked flow, were one of the chief culprits responsible for my viewing this as a fairly tepid “like.”

The other was some WTF, "hold the phone" reactions to the choices/thoughts/feeling of the main character, which I found incredible (not the good kind). Both of these issues conspired to periodically rip me away from the narrative, leaving me all too aware that I was reading.

Still, despite its flaws, the middle third of this very short novel/novella, during which we experience the POV of the psycho du jour, was exceptionally well done. Disturbing doesn’t begin to cover it, but more on that below.


While on holiday, a young man and his girlfriend stop at a convenience store and the girlfriend “vanishes.” No trace, no clues, no answers. Eight years later, Rex Hofman has become obsessed with what happened to Saskia on that fateful day. He’s doesn’t really care whether she’s alive or not, he just needsto know what happened. By the way, you can pencil this in as one of the those “not quite passing the smell test” character depictions, because Rex’s obsession, without the concomitant sense of loss, just doesn’t hold water.

After establishing Rex’s preternatural curiosity, the POV switches to that of Raymond Lemorne, the man who abducted Saskia. Here we learn who he is, and why and how he did it, all of which is unsettling because of the blending of the unassuming, everyday normality of the man’s existence with his diabolical machinations.

This is the gold of the story that really makes this worth reading.

The story then converges towards the final expression of the exploration of dark obsession. Unfortunately, the climax involves the most inexplicable character choice since Laura Dern agreed to be Rocky Dennis’s squeeze in the movie Mask. I cried bullshit and the narrative lost all vestiges of believability at that point. I was left shaking my head in “you can't be serious” disappointment.


As far as I know, the translation I read (i.e., the Sam Garrett version) is the most popular and I don't believe there is one that is considered superior. In other words, I think this is as good as it gets unless you can read it in the original Dutch. While most of the time it was fine, there were enough jarring, clanky moments to bother me.
‘The local color changes to red everytime we get there, ‘ Rex had thought, but to his own surprise he hand’t said it. But it was hot and far, and during the last hour the mood had become a little testy.
There’s nothing really wrong with the above, but my eyes didn’t slide across the page...they kept hitting speed bumps and something felt a bit off. This may just be me, so if you see nothing troubling about either of the two quotes I’ve included so far, you may have less of an issue than me.

This brings me to my other gripe...main character Rex. He's supposed to be the emotional/psychological anchor of this story, and yet his thoughts and actions left me feeling no sympathy for him whatsoever. I never connected with him even in the most tangential of manners. He just left me either scratching me head or wanting to throw him through a wall.

Example: His girlfriend has been missing for an hour. An hour. This is the girlfriend he will obsess over for the next 8 years. After acknowledging to himself that she is probably being raped, and thinking it is likely, after all the raping and other violence is done, that she will be dropped off on the side of the road, he ponders, and I quote: “All things considered, that was the likeliest. It didn’t even have to mean the end of their vacation.”

Now...if you are like me, you will want to do a full stop and immediately reread that last sentence. Girlfriend you love being raped by kidnapper and your thoughts go to salvaging the holiday. Hmm?

I wanted to quit the book right there and count to 500 until the angry voices in my head stopped screaming obscenities about the ridiculousness of that thought.

I reluctantly continued with the book, and I’m glad I did because the saving grace of the story is Raymond Lamorne. Ray is a psycho unlike any I’ve ever encountered. He’s a highly intelligent professor and family man who lives a completely normal life. No raving, no chronic masturbation, nothing indicating he finger paints with his poo or speaks to his dead momma.

He is just an empty shell, completely detached from humanity. A man devoid of empathy who gets an “idea” in his head, a question, and becomes “obsessed” with knowing if he can do it.

Now, I could get all poindexter at this point and talk about the deeper meaning of the piece. The vagaries of fate, the destructive nature of obsession, the transmutation of grief into “the need to know.” The problem is, except for the skin-crawling creepiness of Raymond, I didn’t feel it. Rex was an inadequate vessel.

So, the writing and the main character left less than liking it, but the brilliant Raymond section saved this, making it, though barely, into 3 star territory. Still, read it for that middle section. *shiver*

3.0 stars. Recommended.
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
625 reviews1,536 followers
August 17, 2020
Rex and Saskia, a couple, are on a road trip in France. After stopping at a gas station, Saskia goes inside to get drinks while Rex fills the tank. Saskia is never seen again. She seems to have vanished into thin air. Eight years later, Rex (now in a relationship with Lieneke) still can’t help but wonder what happened to Saskia. After relaunching a public campaign into her disappearance, Saskia’s kidnapper reaches out to Rex. He will reveal everything that happened to Saskia...as long as Rex goes through the exact same process.

“Obsession is the ultimate weapon.” - Tagline for the 1993 film remake.

THE VANISHING is a Dutch thriller, translated to English. It was adapted into a film in 1988, and then remade in America in 1993. The American remake is one of my favorite “classic” movies. It stars Kiefer Sutherland and Sandra Bullock as the young couple, and Jeff Bridges as the villain. Many fans of this novel prefer the original film as well, and were not happy with the ending of the American remake. This ending is dark, disturbing, and horrifying. I’ve had nightmares about it on and off over the years. The remake adds a bit more to the climax, and even though it’s still disturbing and horrifying, it didn’t work for most audiences. I guess I’m in the minority. I found the original film quite cheesy until the ending.

As for the book...I’ve had a copy of this for years, and am glad I finally got around to it. The beginning and ending are gripping, but there are some sections in the middle that could’ve been taken out. I didn’t need to read 5 pages about a badminton game. The translation is a bit clunky as well. I’m still glad to have finally read the book that inspired the films.

My personal opinion: Skip this book and skip the 1988 film. Watch the 1993 film remake, and then google the ending of this book or the 1988 version to see the differences.
Profile Image for TK421.
556 reviews261 followers
May 14, 2012
What would you do for love? For knowledge? For understanding? These questions are asked in THE VANISHING, a taut psychological thriller by Dutch author Tim Krabbe.

I have to admit that at first I thought this book was going to be too sparse; at only 105 pages it didn’t seem long enough for me to believe that the characters and scenes and situations would have much of an affect upon me. But I was wrong. The style of the writing brought me to a different place, a place that can only be best described as that place I go after waking from a nightmare, just before the visions fade into obscurity and I am left contemplating what it all meant. In fact, the mental and linguistic landscapes of this brief novel are so powerful, so believable that it has made me rethink how my wife and I will travel from now on.

The premise of the story is simple: A woman is abducted from a gas station, leaving her boyfriend to piece together her disappearance. This is an eight year long endeavor for him. And he is only given satisfaction at the end, when he has agreed to experience exactly what she did at the hands of her killer.

As I read this I kept asking myself: Would I be willing to do this for my wife? I would like to say yes, but I’m not so sure. My survival instincts perk up a little bit more. What does this say about me as a husband? These are questions I would rather ignore than answer.

For me, the most disturbing part of the book was the section detailing the killer’s perfection of his craft through his numerous practice attempts and note taking. This is only made creepier by the brief back-story and psychological make-up of the killer. We witness the development of a killer from childhood through his cold-blooded murder of two hitchhikers, and then to the final enactment of his nefarious plan. During this time I kept wondering how many of these types of people I might have conversed with at gas stations or diners or rest stops on my own travels. This thought is chilling.

Regardless of its brevity, this book will linger in my mind for many years to come. Compared to Borges and King and Hitchcock, this book really belongs in a class of its own. I will be seeking out more titles from this author in the future.

Profile Image for Rosa Cleiren.
61 reviews3 followers
May 29, 2022
hallo na 2 maanden heb hier eindelijk een (belachelijk lange) review voor geschreven, geniet ervan hahaha

Ik ben dit boek aan het leren voor mijn examen en ik ben nogmaals geconfronteerd met hoe vreselijk ik dit vond. Mijn eerste frustraties komen door het hoofdkarakter Rex; hij is oprecht onuitstaanbaar door zijn seksistische opvattingen. Wanneer zijn vriendin Saskia vermist is denkt hij dat ze misschien verkracht zal worden en verwoordt hij dit zo: P.24 ‘ze zou niet zo stom zijn om zich te verzetten’. Hier kon ik me al moeilijk overzetten, maar iets later gaat het er nog verder over. De antagonist Raymond Lemorne zit met zijn dochter in de auto en zij vraagt aan haar vader of hij een affaire heeft, hierbij zegt ze P.56 “een man op uw leeftijd heeft recht op zoiets”. Ik denk dat Tim Krabbé daar een beetje te hard aan het projecteren was, want ik ken geen enkel 14 jarig meisje dat ooit zoiets zou zeggen.
De auteur is simpelweg incapabel om een geloofwaardige vrouw neer te schrijven en daardoor vind ik het erg dat dit boek nog steeds als hét voorbeeld van een goede thriller in scholen en zelfs universiteiten wordt gepresenteerd. Zelfs de moordenaar-antagonist was saai en onorgineel (of misschien heb ik gewoon te veel moordseries gekeken). Zijn perverse gedachtespel was bij momenten interessant maar zat vol gaten. Waarom zou een eenzame man met een mitella hulp nodig hebben met zijn wagen als die niet eens kan rijden (hij maakt deze opmerking ook zelf)? Wie zou daar realistisch gezien intrappen? Schat Tim Krabbé vrouwen (het target van de moordenaar) dan werkelijk zo laag in? Om het met een fancy term te zeggen die ik waarschijnlijk ergens in mijn examen ga moeten verwerken: de willing suspension of disbelief stopt daar voor mij. Zelfs bij de derde keer lezen verdient dit boek dus 2 sterren van mij; de enige punten die het boek van mij krijgt komen door de interpretatie dat Rex en Lemorne twee zijden van eenzelfde munt zijn, want dat vind ik nog wel een interessant idee.
Profile Image for Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
Author 144 books16.6k followers
July 19, 2019
This is one of those books I chased for years, trying to find a copy of it. It's actually a novella. Slim and compact. It's a tale of obsession as told by two men. Many readers will be put off by the "unlikeable" protagonists -- both of the men here are definitely not super nice, although one of them is a sociopath and the other is not -- but noir is built on characters that make you squirm. The premise, as you might guess by the title, is the mysterious vanishing of a young woman during a vacation. Her boyfriend is haunted by her disappearance and eventually we get to discover what happened to her. Obviously, the 'what happened!' is the part that keeps you turning the pages and keeps the boyfriend in thrall, but ultimately the answer is not as important as the psychological portrait it paints of both a monster and a man (the man has more in common with the monsters than he thinks). It all has a very European noir-lit vibe, by which I mean it's a bit slow and quiet and not meant for people who love explosions or nice people. Those are both in short supply.
Profile Image for Robert Hoogstad.
139 reviews3 followers
December 28, 2013
Scary story, the (dutch) film version is even better. But you Will need a strong moral, it is terrifying.
Profile Image for Blair.
1,767 reviews4,235 followers
August 7, 2014
I wouldn't normally finish a book I disliked as much as this, but it's so short - not much more than 100 pages and the text isn't exactly tiny. There's no way I would have carried on reading if it had been any longer. I guess I just hoped something would actually happen to justify its impressive reputation, but it didn't.

The premise certainly sounded intriguing. Hailed as a modern classic, it's (supposed to be) a tale of obsession and suspense which starts with a young couple, Rex and Saskia, stopping at a petrol station while travelling through France; Saskia goes to the shop and simply disappears without a trace. Eight years later, Rex is still haunted by the question of what happened to her, and is once again prompted to reinvestigate the mystery of her 'vanishing'.

The story is just completely flat. There's no tension, no suspense and no reason to be interested in anything that happens. The villain's motivations are explored in such a soulless and dull manner that although I found him a disgusting character, I wasn't remotely frightened. The description of his research and method could have been copied from a Wikipedia page about a serial killer - and reading one of those is, I know for a fact, better (and scarier) than reading this book. Saskia's character isn't really established before she disappears, and Rex isn't likeable at all. He has a new girlfriend in the post-Saskia sections of the book, but I have no idea why since he doesn't seem to give a shit about her, and considers cheating with a girl he's fleetingly attracted to whose name he then writes down on the 'women's page' of his diary. (What??) There's an inexplicably lengthy scene describing a game of tennis which serves no purpose at all. The denouement has a plodding inevitability about it and I couldn't bring myself to care, or feel any horror, even though what happens is quite extreme.

This isn't anything to do with the reasons I disliked the book itself, but it also annoyed me that the blurb is misleading.

The blurb also tells me that the story has been filmed twice. I haven't seen the films, but I feel confident in stating they have to be better than the book. I'm aware that this is a cult classic, but I'm afraid I can't tell you why.
Profile Image for Nancy Oakes.
1,922 reviews732 followers
March 4, 2009
The Vanishing is a small book, but do not let that fool you. It is intensely creepy from a psychological standpoint, and you literally will not be able to put it down before you've read it cover to cover. I won't go into plot, but my take on this novel is this: if you consider that the Dutch title is the Golden Egg (Het gouden ei), you will understand this novel much easier. The Golden Egg refers to a nightmare that Saskia (girlfriend of Rex, the main character in this novel) had as a child. In this dream, there was only one way out for Saskia -- and if you take it from that perspective, things become much clearer regarding Rex's motivations at the end.

The Vanishing is a frightening novel -- it explores one man's obsessions and shows how obsessions can often bring people to teeter over the brink of sanity and bring them from fantasy to action. You never know who's watching...and that was enough to creep me out totally. The writing is chillingly excellent and will leave you thinking about what you've just read for a long time.

If you like warm fuzzies at the end of your stories, don't pick this one up. However, if you're looking for something that will make you think, this small book will do it. I HIGHLY recommend it.
Profile Image for Chantal.
899 reviews121 followers
May 9, 2021
A great little scary story. The Dutch movie haunted me for years, so I had to read the book finally. Even though the book doesn't have many pages, the story was written well and the characters are built great. A great read for an evening.
Profile Image for Teresa.
1,492 reviews
August 12, 2015

Saskia sonhou que estava fechada dentro de um Ovo Dourado que voava pelo universo onde tudo era negro; ficaria ali para sempre porque não podia morrer. A sua única esperança era que houvesse um outro ovo a voar pelo espaço e que ao chocarem se destruíssem e tudo terminasse.
Rex amava-a tanto que, mesmo oito anos depois de ela desaparecer, não hesitou em entrar num Ovo Dourado na esperança de a encontrar.
Lemorne gostava de experiências extremas; sempre que tinha alguma ideia tornava-a possível, por maiores dificuldades que se lhe deparassem.
Profile Image for roosmarijn.
169 reviews80 followers
March 12, 2022
Ik snap de dingen die dit boek probeert te zijn en wat het probeert over te brengen maar heb het gevoel dat het punt compleet gemist wordt. Het boek focust op hoe het obsessieve kan kantelen naar het destructieve, hoe rouw omslaat naar een obsessieve noodzaak om te 'moeten weten' en de fasen van rouw die het hoofdpersonage, Rex Hofman, doormaakt.

Rex draagt als hoofdpersonage het verhaal, zijn taak was me te overtuigen van zijn emoties en me mee te slepen in zijn langzame wegkwijning door het 'niet weten.' Naar mijn mening heeft hij compleet gefaald in die taak. Hij is by far het meest onaangename personage uit het boek, er was geen meeleving in of overtuiging van zijn emoties.

Voorbeeld die volgensmij perfect samenvat hoe het lezen van zijn stukken voelde:

"Dan werd ze nu verkracht. En daarna? Ze kon vermoord worden. Dan werd haar lijk vroeger of later teruggevonden. Maar ze zou niet zo stom zijn zich te verzetten. De kans was groot dat ze ergens op een afgelegen plek werd achtergelaten, dan zou ze na verloop van tijd het hotel weten te bereiken. Al met al was dat het meest waarschijnlijk. Het was niet eens gezegd dat de vakantie reddeloos was."

Uhhhhhh ja. Tot zover zijn poging mij te overtuigen van de emotionele breakdown die hij doormaakt.

Raymond Lemorne is de persoon die dit boek gered heeft. Zijn dubbelzinnigheid maakte zijn passages oneindig interessant om te lezen. Hij was het personage, vreemd genoeg, met de meeste diepgang en de meest overtuigende beweegredenen. Zijn totale afwezigheid aan empathie en de absurdheid van zijn keuzes zijn zo goed geschreven. De ontknoping was onverwachts goed.

Het gouden ei heeft een super sterk, interessant verhaal, maar is gewoon niet overtuigend genoeg geschreven. Honderd paginas is weinig maar meer dan genoeg om een interessant personage neer te zetten maar Rex, die de drijvende factor achter het boek had moeten zijn, verpeste het voor mij.
Profile Image for Paul Haspel.
206 reviews20 followers
May 1, 2012
Very difficult to review in a meaningful or helpful manner – that is my first response to Tim Krabbé’s The Vanishing. It is not that Krabbé’s style is difficult or daunting; rather, the Dutch-language original has been translated by Claire Nicolas White into a smooth and flowing English style that makes for a fast and suspenseful read. And it is not that the action of The Vanishing is difficult to understand; instead, the novel’s plotline, while rendered from a variety of points of view, is terrifyingly simple. And the novel is amazingly short – only 108 pages, in the translation I read.

What makes it difficult to review Tim Krabbé’s The Vanishing, rather, is that the novel’s action is difficult to discuss without revealing key plot points – indeed, without giving away the whole show. For any book on Goodreads, one will see reviews that say This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. Not having looked at any of the other reviews of this book, I venture a humble prediction that I will see a number of reviews that say just that.

So, to try to review The Vanishing without spoiling everything: here goes. The book is divided into 5 parts. In Part 1, we meet a young Dutch couple, Rex and Saskia, as they drive south toward a vacation destination in Burgundy. Their relationship is not perfect – they tend to squabble over small things – but they seem happy enough. Rex even speculates on how happy he is to be with Saskia. They stop at a Total petrol station to gas up; Saskia goes into the station to pick up a couple of cold drinks –and vanishes without a trace. The police are called, and all they can do is certify that Saskia is indeed missing.

Part 2 takes place years later; Rex is in a new relationship with a woman named Lieneke, but he is still haunted by Saskia’s disappearance. He awakens from nightmares in which he re-experiences a recurring dream that Saskia had described to him – a dream of being trapped inside a golden egg that is hurtling through space. Indeed, when the book was first published in Amsterdam in 1984, its title was Het Gouden Ei (The Golden Egg). That nightmare of being trapped inside a golden egg has significance in terms of the ultimate fate of two of the book's characters.

In Part 3, we meet Raymond Lemorne, a chemistry teacher whose seemingly ordinary exterior conceals very complex depths. He has a connection to the events previously described – a connection that I will not describe here. Why not? This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

Part 4 begins by showing Rex, back at home in Amsterdam, still in the midst of his years-long quest to solve the mystery of Saskia’s disappearance. He is contacted by the person who is responsible for the vanishing, and told that he can learn what happened to Saskia – but only by experiencing what happened to her. And he senses that if he agrees to these conditions, he will die.

What happens after that, I will not say. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. Indeed, I have a hunch that many of the secrets of this novella are already known to many readers, because The Vanishing has been filmed twice. George Sluizer’s 1988 film, a Dutch-French co-production originally titled Spoorloos, won widespread critical praise for its creation of tension and suspense. Five years later, Sluizer did an American remake of his own European film, but that version of The Vanishing, with Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Kiefer Sutherland, and Nancy Travis, was generally seen as a standard-issue 1990’s Hollywood thriller. Either way, if you have seen either film, you already know a great deal about the surprises that Krabbé’s original The Vanishing offers.

The book reminded me of William Shakespeare’s Othello and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” in its presentation of how absolute evil can hide behind the most ordinary and even placid façade. “The Cask of Amontillado” also came to mind for additional reasons that I will not reveal here. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

Read Tim Krabbé’s The Vanishing. It is a terrifying little book.
Profile Image for Ivy-Mabel Fling.
421 reviews31 followers
June 27, 2021
A novella is not easy to write as, in my view, it sits uncomfortably between a short story (with one basic idea as its main focus) and a novel. However, several of the books I really love and return to more than once are novellas, including this one. Presumably the author was fascinated by the character of Lemorne and built his story around his bizarre and gruesome idea. I would recommend it to those who have a certain amount of patience (as some reviewers remark, the tale could be shortened and still retain its essence) and who can live with the grim and the hopeless. I would put it in the same category as The Comfort of Strangers or The Cement Garden, both of which are equally grim and, to me, equally fascinating.
It is a pity Tim Krabbé wrote so little.
Profile Image for Carla.
285 reviews72 followers
September 19, 2017
O amor sente-se mais facilmente na dor. Ela nunca me deu a oportunidade de não a amar. Por vezes, acho que foi arrogante da sua parte.

Um livro que vale pela ideia da marca indestrutível que algumas pessoas deixam. Uma marca tão funda que mesmo na ausência desse outro lhe sentimos a presença. Uma marca tão inexplicável que somos impelidos a seguir o destino do ausente para lhe conhecermos o fim.
Profile Image for Foxyreading.
63 reviews38 followers
March 4, 2016
actual rating: 3,5 stars. I liked it, it was short and exciting. I also liked the aspect of a killer's point of view.
Profile Image for Cathy.
97 reviews
May 6, 2017
I just watched the movie and it was almost exactly what I pictured while I read it! This is a good book to read if you tend to be the gullible type. A nasty little reality check about blindly trusting a stranger in need, and following that, a suspenseful story about a compelled and determined lover.
Profile Image for Katrien.
11 reviews
October 13, 2022
waarom stelt niemand zich de vraag waarom een man met mitella achter het stuur zit? lol
Profile Image for Matthieu Wegh.
471 reviews7 followers
July 6, 2022
? Na Vertraging mijn tweede boek van deze auteur. Daarnaast trok mij aan dat dit boek al jaren het meest gelezen boek is voor Nederlands (volgens www.scholieren.com).
🤔 Eigenlijk net als Vertraging een boeiend, spannend kort boekje. De schrijfstijl vond ik ook prettig en de volgrode van het verhaal maakte het ook boeiend! Ik heb 2 samenvattingen van scholieren.com doorgekeken. In totaal zijn er zelfs 261 verslagen van dit boekje te vinden op dit medium.

=> Nummer 2 op de lijst van Scholieren.com is Alles wat er was van Hanna Bervoets, een veel omvangrijker boek (is die lijst van Scholieren.com wel up tot date??? ;-)) Ik heb dit boek inmiddels gereserveerd bij mijn bieb, maar weet nog niet of ik dat boek ook daadwerkelijk ga lezen deze vakantieperiode....

MW 6/7/22
Profile Image for Remco Sleiderink.
105 reviews9 followers
October 13, 2022
Nadat ik een artikel van Jeroen Dera in Vooys had gelezen (aanrader!) én de discussie erover in de Facebookgroep van 'Leraar Nederlands', wilde ik deze novelle graag herlezen om zelf een mening te vormen over de ideologiekritische insteek van Jeroen (en de bijkomende motieven die hij benoemt). Ik wist al hoe het boekje zou aflopen waardoor ik niet werd afgeleid door het thrillerelement en beter kon letten op het spel met motieven en perspectief. En dat creëerde zo een eigen spanning die maakte dat ik het in een ruk heb uitgelezen. Dit is zo'n verhaal waarin alles met alles samenhangt, waarin alles geladen is met betekenis, zonder dat het gaat vervelen. Je voelt het plezier van de schrijver die zijn verhaal in elkaar steekt, maar beseft uiteindelijk ook dat deze mannelijke fantasie deep down voortkomt uit mannelijke angst en onverwerkt verdriet.
Profile Image for Michael.
544 reviews122 followers
March 29, 2020
Being on holiday in the Netherlands, I wanted to read a book by a Dutch author and this was the most interesting-looking book in the English section of the bookshop. I'd seen the Dutch film of the book a few years ago and, having liked that very much, I had another impetus to get this novel.

Well, novel is pushing it a bit - at 115 pages of relatively large-font, double-spaced text, this is really a short story or novella and I read it in a few hours.

Anyway, a well written, engaging and chilling psychological thriller. There are no "blood-spattered" details of what happened to the "vanished" woman, but the effects of her disappearance on her boyfriend and the views into the mind of the man who effected her disappearance are gripping.
Profile Image for Barbara.
703 reviews19 followers
December 30, 2018
Ich hätte nicht gedacht, dass so viel in diesem kurzen Buch steckt, das mit dem Verschwinden einer jungen Frau, Saskia, beginnt, das ihr Freund Rex auch Jahre später immer noch beschäftigt.
Schon die Widersprüchlichkeit von Rex‘ Gefühlen zu seiner Freundin, die er liebte, fand ich so faszinierend wie später . Auch der titelgebende Traum vom goldenen Ei wird mir in Erinnerung bleiben beziehungsweise das darin geschilderte Gefühl, hatte ich doch ebenfalls einen Kindheitstraum, der mich ähnlich geängstigt hatte.
Profile Image for Zenmoon.
25 reviews
February 11, 2013

Okay I definitely need to read something upbeat after this one (*goes to bookshelf … retrieves a David Sedaris book*) or something worthy of a Literature student that unfortunately hasn’t read enough ‘good’ literature and thus shouldn’t be wasting valuable time on suspect reads such as this one (*plucks down an unread Ernest Hemingway)*.

I’m glad I didn’t pay more than a dollar in the local op-shop for this one, but even so, I still feel like I was fleeced. At least with novels like The Lovely Bones and McEwan's The Comfort of Strangers you have some broody literary technique to fall back on amidst the rape, murder, or twisted seduction. Your stomach might lurch but you can at least appreciate the skill while you’re screwing up your nose in disgust.

It started out so promising: a cult novel, a novel of dark obsession. Oh that sounds like the ticket, I thought, affecting an English voice from Brideshead Revisited. I so badly wanted this book to contain something more profound than your average psychopath (yikes, are there so many that they've now become average?) After reading Jon Ronson’s,The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, my radar for creepy, cold-hearted weirdos has been seriously ramped up.

Interjection number one:
(In retrospect, Ronson’s book was a startlingly bad choice of reading material for an International flight to London, especially given that I was on my way to nurse my fragile mother in the ICU and therefore about to re-experience the usual mayhem which accompanies most encounters with the British medical system. I spent Sydney to Singapore psychopath spotting, and then some, and even in my half-bleary, sleep deprived state, I was convinced that the weedy manager tearing strips off the Eastern European cook in a Heathrow hotel, was a winning candidate for the nasty P word. For God’s sake, all the guy did was over cook the bacon. Lay off already).

Interjection number two:
I feel mean writing such a scathing review. My apologies to the author for my ungenerous words, but what can I say, we can't like everything.

Back to my unhappy review ...
If ever there was a time for reading ahead on the reviews for a book this was it. But I was enticed by comments from respectable US and British papers, which oozed things like: ‘A masterly work, concise, stylistically bold and full of surprises’. I have to say the only thing that I agree with in that sentence is the word concise. At 115 pages, it’s a couple hours read and I thought, ‘cult’?, ‘carefully constructed narrative’? … oh go on then, let’s give it a shot.

However, the reviewers are obviously seeing something in this book that I’m way missing (this isn’t the first time). This has a tendency to make me momentarily doubt myself. Am I missing some kind of dormant brilliance? Even so, ‘Graham Greene-esque travelogue’? ‘A tale of Mephistophelian friendship’? Sorry but no, not in my neck of the literate woods.

Besides, hasn’t this murder mystery storyline been done to death? In fact, is there really so much as even a drop of originality left in this sort of stuff? Well perhaps with erudite prose, and believable characters, yes, neither of which is to be found here. I mean how many ways can you throw a unique spin on evil, and why do we want further exposure to more of that sickness anyway? This is the standard fare of just about every police drama you can name. Absolutely nothing new here – for me at least. I’m obviously not destined for a follow-up career in criminology.

As for Rex, the main protagonist, he is the most cardboard, transparently written character I’ve run into in a long time. But more than this, he commits easily the most unbelievable character choice I’ve witnessed outside of a high school creative writing class. I think another reviewer echoed my exact refrain at that enthusiastically promoted ‘surprise’ moment, which went something along the lines of ‘you cannot be (expletive) serious’.

Really, this particular character is just not credible. He is nothing but words. The writer did not help me believe for even one minute that he would make the choice in the latter part of the book that he did, obsessed or not. I read on purely to notch off another text on the 2013 reading challenge. Shallow, but there it is. I promise myself to get more discerning from here on in.

Before I finish, I have to wonder aloud (thus committing to record) what the hell was the bit in the middle of the book about the tennis match, complete with elaborate but predictable (still wooden) descriptions of the players? I had to read back a little before surmising that this had zero to do with advancing the plot in any way (barring a stab at smouldering obsession, and failing), but at least it allowed the writer to convey his knowledge of the tennis scoring system.

Having written this, I did a quick scroll through the GR reviews and clocked the stars – many 3’s, a lot of 4’s and a few 2’s. I’m with those rating at the lower end of the scale. This book did nothing for me, apart from reinforce that I need to be more careful with my book choices.

And avoid overzealous, power-crazy restaurant managers.

Profile Image for Sanne.
28 reviews
May 15, 2022
Toevallig is het acht jaar geleden dat ik het boek voor het eerst probeerde te lezen. Ik vond het toen vreselijk maar kon me niet herinneren waarom dat zo was. Dus besloot ik het een nieuwe kans te geven en wat ben ik blij dat ik dat heb gedaan. Ondanks dat het niet het beste werk ooit is, was het wel vermakelijk.
Profile Image for Maaike.
37 reviews16 followers
August 13, 2017
Sterk geschreven novelle, met een wat teleurstellend einde - hoewel je fantasie natuurlijk wel op hol slaat door de gaten in het verhaal. Ideaal "luievakantiedagboekje", je leest het in een rotvaart uit.
Profile Image for Jessy.
876 reviews58 followers
February 4, 2018
Me gustó mucho, al principio me causaban un poco de confusión los capítulos, porque no entendía si pasaba antes, después, quién hablaba, etc. pero una vez que me ubicaba, me atrapaba. Super rápido de leer. La única falla es que es demasiado corto, quedas con ganas de más.
Profile Image for Saoirse.
72 reviews7 followers
March 30, 2022
The book that became the cult hit The Vanishing, (The Golden Egg in its original publication), is every bit is eerie and tense and chilling as the film. 115 pages packs a punch.
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