Bianca's Reviews > Voor een verloren soldaat

Voor een verloren soldaat by Rudi van Dantzig
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's review
Jan 18, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, fiction, lgbt, novels

As an extremely difficult book to find, the few English editions available are priced quite expensively, most ranging from $100 to $200 on any given site. Because of this, I was very reluctant to purchase it, fearing its contents would not be worth the price. However, I received this book from my mother for my birthday in 2007 and, since then, it has become one of my favorites.

This, to me, is truly one of the most mesmerizing and brilliant pieces of literature I’ve read. This story holds a startling but brilliant social commentary, ranging from relationships to war to poverty. Every scene in this book is fascinating. And the relationship between Jerome, the boy, and Walt, the soldier, is engaging from start to finish. Their encounter possesses both the ignorant fantasy of perfection while being painfully fated for an unhappy end. Like Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, the reader will constantly debate whether the relationship portrayed here is immoral, whether both characters’ desires have outpaced their ability to perceive their meaning and consequences. And, just as Nabokov’s novel, there remain a handful of critics determined to dismiss For a Lost Soldier as nothing more than exploitive pornography. This criticism is largely unwarranted as even the slightest insight to Rudi van Dantzig’s life will inform the reader why this book has been written.

Very few books have made me feel as though I, as a person, have changed. This book is a rare exception and, because of that, I’ve found myself rereading it too many times to count. Even when I’m not reading it, I still revisit my favorite scenes, particularly the heartbreaking ending.

My one aggravation (which has not affected my rating since it is irrelevant to the original text), is that the English translation is clearly inferior to the original Dutch. I am far from fluent in Dutch, so reading the original edition would have been impossible, though it’s clear the beauty of van Dantzig’s writing was occasionally lost in translation, which leaves a variety of scenes poorly described and less fulfilling. However, being that For a Lost Soldier is virtually unknown in the West, I am eternally grateful to have been privileged with reading the novel. It’s both beautiful and tragic, and I’ll never forget the experience I had upon first reading it.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Šarūnas (new) - added it

Šarūnas Hey Blanca, I really wish you were tempted to upload a PDF of this book on Scribd :) I've just found out about the book via Wikipedia. Narbutus is a Lithuanian surname, so I think this book would be a good start to start reclaiming the LGBT history of Lithuania - through fiction :)

message 2: by Šarūnas (new) - added it

Šarūnas Oh, and, seeing you are Spanish - greetings from Bogota :)

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