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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,694 ratings  ·  132 reviews
In 1980 publiceerde Cees Nooteboom zijn roman Rituelen, een boek dat zou uitgroeien tot een moderne klassieker en bovendien tot een van de meest vertaalde boeken uit de Nederlandse literatuur. Het werd in 1989 verfilmd en ontving de F. Bordewijk-prijs en in Amerika de Pegasus Prize for Literature.
Inni Wintrop, de hoofdpersoon, is nadat zijn vrouw hem heeft verlaten en na e
Paperback, 210 pages
Published March 29th 2006 by Eldorado (first published 1980)
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,694 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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Jan 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch-literature
To me 'Rituals' is the best Nooteboom I've read so far. Compared to his early work this is a return to realism, but still with touches of alienation and absurdity (in line with Sartre and other existentialists). The starting point is not really uplifting: a failed attempt by protagonist Inni Wintrop to commit suicide. In the next parts we go back in time and see how he is confronted with different characters who try to give the absurdity of life some sense: Father Romuald through Catholic ritual ...more
M. Sarki
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to M. by: Jonathan
Shelves: 5-star-wonders

Almost immediately I entered a world not of my making and willingly allowed myself to engage the characters within the covers and become somewhat a friend to them. My personal allowances were not wasted, as good fortune greeted me at every turn the novel made. Cees Nooteboom begins this work with a bit of a disparaging look upon his main character, Inni Wintrop. Though Inni failed at his own suicide, his only marriage, and avoided a working career sufficie
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apple-of-the-eye
Man is a sad mammal that combs its hair.
Stephen Durrant
This book baffles me. Cees Nooteboom is a Dutch writer who is sometimes touted for the Noble Prize. I've read only one of his books before, "The Following Story," which I liked a great deal. "Rituals" is often considered to bebetter. But it did not engage me much, and I'm not sure that I really understood it. Here's a try. Amsterdam, the backdrop for this story in three parts, each separated from the other by about ten years, is a place of maximum freedom where one can wander aimlessly and do pr ...more
May 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jesus, all I do is think about books, films and those elections I read about in the Guardian and Economist. I think about Rituals often, it must be radical. I know. Maybe I should admit my affectation for espresso and the Premier League.
Lauren Albert
Dec 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A strange, brilliantly written book. Like other reviewers have said, there were so many passages that I wanted to save which is remarkable for such a short novel. Do not go to this novel for plot--but if you like philosophical fiction and great writing, you will enjoy this.
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another one of those books whose own moments of brilliance justify–I say–my inclination to set the bar unjustifiably high, and so, falls short. Rituals lacks little more than ambition. Strangely, it seems this thin book would benefit from being either a bit shorter or indefinitely longer. By that I mean, by my estimation there is a lull or two that a harsher critic than I could deem ‘filler’ inside a small, incisive book, and, ‘structural’ inside a more substantial one: Take em out; or go bigger ...more
christopher leibow
I found this book on a lark in a used bookstore. Dark, funny painfully honest and extremely intuitive. Plenty of lines to commit to memory. A wonderfully serendipitous find. I will reread this book many times.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the end of the first part, I thought this will probably be a three-star book. After the second, I was quite sure it will get five. And the final part pushed it down to four. This is a story of two men seen through the eyes of a third - two men, very similar and yet absolutely the opposites of each other, both trying to organize their lives around an axis of sorts, a fundamental principle derived from the values they hold dear and their life experience. The third man is very different from bot ...more
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inni Wintrop is an aimless wanderer through life and alter ego of Nooteboom. Rituals follows him in three distinct parts starting out in 1963 introducing him as the narrator at the age of 30 just having been left by his wife. Hence, he tries to commit suicide but fails miserably. The novel then jumps back to 1953 where Inni meets Arnold Taads and finally in 1973 he meets Arnold's son Philip.
It's a modern variation on Hesse's Narziss und Goldmund focussing on Goldmund's respectively Inni's part.
Richard Newton
An odd little book - with some wonderful writing and deep insights often in sentences that are easy to miss. To use a cliche it’s the gaps and things the book hints at rather than says that are its strength. As much about a mood as anything else.The characters have little appeal, but they are human. The only criticism is it is mostly light and profound, but occasionally clumsy for a paragraph or two.

I find it hard to describe the book and imagine if you are not in the right mood or point in lif
Anthony Ferner
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch-fiction
First published in 1980, Rituelen (Rituals) is a strange and powerful Dutch novel about an unambitious, drifting man, Inigo (Inni) Wintrop who makes a vague living dabbling in the stock and art markets and writing horoscopes. He is seen at three critical moments in his life, from 1963, 1953 and 1973. In the first, Inni's wife, Zita, leaves him for another man, plunging him into despair. In the second, set ten years earlier, he encounters the eccentric unbending misanthrope, Arnold Taads, who com ...more
May 16, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I simply could not get into this book. I think it was one of those cases where the protagonist is so lacking in appeal or empathy that you do not get interested in him, and thus don’t care about anything that happens. I had to force myself to finish this and, if the book wasn’t so brief, I would not have bothered.
Christina Packard
I just was not into this book.
Martin Raybould
Dull plotless postmodern musings on existentialism.
Sorin Hadârcă
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. It hints at the Testaments - the Old and the New and... I will say no more. The novel is too good to be lost in chitchat and demands quiet & meditation.
Dec 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read it again right after finishing. And then again. And will again. Miraculous, effortless prose.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Some might think I just don’t get what the book was about or am not smart enough to get the story and that would be why I gave it a 1 star rating. But that’s not true.
The philosophy of the characters is not new to me but through Inni’s eyes we get a really one-sided perspective on things. We don’t get to see anything from the point of view of a more optimistic character. You could think you learned a lot about religion or philosophy by reading this but then I would recommend books that are speci
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took this book to be an exploration of how people can deal with the feeling of emptiness in their lives. Some people follow strictly regimented schedules, others fall back on traditions and complicated ceremonies. Still others fall back on a code of doing nothing seriously and instead live a life of aimless wandering and dabbling. All of these strategies are the titular rituals, by which we attempt to cover up the world's meaninglessness with wobbling structures of our own creation. Maybe some ...more
Andres Eguiguren
This is, I believe, the first novel I have read by a Dutch author. It started out at four stars for me, but I am giving it three as it lost a bit of momentum for me and the explorations of Calvinist vs. Catholic world views, Japanese tea rituals, and 1970's urban decay in Amsterdam didn't always keep my full attention. It was intriguing enough for me to look up some of his other works, however, and look forward to reading Lost Paradise, from 2004.
Mar 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
Inni Wintrop is a drifter through life, failing in marriage, work and suicide through a lack of application. His dabbling dilettantism is contrasted by his acquaintance many years apart of a father and son, Arnold and Philip Taads, whose lives are ruled by time, routine and ritual. It is a short, but slow read, written with that peculiarly continental philosophical detachment that you either adore, despise or in my case veer between the two states.
Very enjoyable book.
It took me like three different starts before I got into it. But once I got into the mood, it went like a river.
I thought it interesting and thought provoking. The way people find rituals in different places and different times shows how we all are the same, albeit different in the way we show it. The insecurities, the search for meaning, these are all themes in this work.A a recommended book , but not really for those who are in search for an easy, quick read.
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story of a man, who still kept something of a human being inside himself living in the "brave new world" and just refusing to deal with it. Some passages are just striking. No wonder this book became a kind of international "breakthrough" for the author.
Romi || Romi Reads
This was the second time I read Rituals, the first time I read it for Dutch class in high school. I didn't understand much of it back then, and I'm still struggling to appreciate it right now. To me it isn't really that unique, nor entertaining (I know - literature doesn't have to be entertaining in order to be "good". It's just something I look for in books!). Okay, Nooteboom's writing style was quite easy to get through and the story wasn't super dull. At the same time, I didn't really get to ...more
Jean-paul Audouy
An admirer of Harry Mulisch’s “The Discovery of Heaven”, I came to this book on a recommandation from a young Dutch man on Twitter. Which proves there’s more to social networks than selfies and kittens (or pornstars sleeping with presidents…). A strange little book that will stay with me for a long time. One thinks of Sartre (mentioned several times), Camus, Barthes even but with a Dutch flavour and a lot more explicit sex! The second half is dense with emotions, quite sad but without pathos, li ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written story (my first Nooteboom!). In what can be seen as 3 short stories, the book explores how people use rituals to give sense to their lives - or how they compeletely avoid them to reach just the same. All main characters are a bit "off" but immensely intriguing to me as a reader. I love a bit of philosophy.

Can anyone recommend the second book by Nooteboom I should read?
Julie Seidel
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this rambling novel set in Amsterdam and as a recent tourist there , this was my reason for reading it. There is no plot but the characters and big questions they pose make it fascinating. Some paragraphs and passages were amazing considering translation. I found it a very philosophical , unique and thoughtful prose.
Miss E
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A dark and depressing insight into the minds of men and women who are, in one way or another, struggling to exist in a world they feel they do not belong in. Despite the short length of the novel, it is not a light reading experience!
A dark and depressing insight into the minds of men and women who are, in some way or another, struggling to exist in a world they feel they do not belong in. Despite the short length of the novel, it's not a light reading experience!
Stefania Lazar
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
Weird and slightly depressing.
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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 l ...more
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“Memory is like a dog that lies down where it pleases.” 19 likes
“He read a lot, but what he read, and not just that but everything he saw, films and paintings, he translated into feeling. And this feeling, which could not immediately be expressed in words, not yet and maybe never, that formless mass of sentiments, impressions, observations — that was his way of thinking. You could circle around it with words, but there always remained far more that was not expressed than was. And later, too, a certain resentment would take possession of him, toward those people who demanded precise answers, or pretended to be able to give them. It was, on the contrary, the very mystery of everything that was so attractive. You should not want to impose too much order on it. If you did, something would be lost irrevocably. That mysteries can become more mysterious if you think about them with precision and method, he did not yet know. He felt at home in his sentimental chaos. To chart it you had to be an adult, but then you were at once labelled, finished, and in effect already a little dead.” 6 likes
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