Pvw's Reviews > Heden ben ik nuchter

Heden ben ik nuchter by Herman Brusselmans
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Jun 04, 2012

it was ok

I remember that Brusselmans' style used to be pretty refreshing in the rather serious literature in Flanders which to me always seemed to have an exaggerated fascination with small villages, catholic upbringing and peasants. Brusselmans didn't concern himself with literary restrictions or high brow reflections upon the past. Instead, he wrote in an everyday speaking style, with all the funny reflections of the main character, right in your face!

Since that time it has become a habit of many aspiring writers in the Dutch language to imitate this approach. Their novels are often nothing more than an uninteresting report of their real life, the only literary achievement being that they create an alter ego with a slightly different name than their own. They don't betray any planning and contain loose reflections that the reader could just have well have done without.

So, when returning to Brusselmans after reading so many poorly written works in roughly the same style, it is hard to still find it refreshing. The story of alter ego Kronenburg, a low class employee of a federal administration office, never grips you. Towards the end, when Kronenburg has met the real Herman Brusselmans and the two characters start dissolve into one another, the novel reaches a bit of a surreal feeling. But in the end, no big impression remains and the reading itself offers too few good laughs to make up for the poor content.
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