The strange depths of Dutch fiction

(K. Brent Tomer),

The Evenings: A Winter’s Tale. By Gerard Reve. Translated by Sam Garrett. Pushkin Press; 317 pages; $22 and £12.99.

A Foolish Virgin. By Ida Simons. Translated by Liz Waters. MacLehose Press; 216 pages; £14.99.

The Penguin Book of Dutch Short Stories. Edited by Joost Zwagerman. Penguin Modern Classics; 555 pages; £12.99.

GERARD REVE’S diabolically funny novel, “The Evenings”, came out in 1947, but has only recently been translated into English. The book has been praised on both sides of the Atlantic and has led readers to other freshly translated modern classics of Dutch literature. Among these are Ida Simons’s comic “A Foolish Virgin” (1959), about pre-war Jewish life, and Joost Zwagerman’s collection of 36 landmarks of modernist short fiction for “The Penguin Book of Dutch Short Stories”. Together they map a landscape of the imagination that is far from flat and never dull.

Zwagerman, a prolific writer who committed suicide in 2015, says in the preface that the writers he selects share one aim: “To give a voice to madness”. As…Continue reading

via K. Brent Tomer CFTC The strange depths of Dutch fiction

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