A flawed but entertaining adventure novel that reminded me most of all of Indiana Jones (which is not a bad thing). Two British intellectuals, with their servant, go into the heart of Africa in search of the legendary Queen Aysha (or 'She who must be obeyed'). Of course, there's all sorts of weird stuff going on as the novel is as much horror as adventure. Especially liked the sacriligious dance with the flaming corpses. Characters were shallow though and a bit silly at times. And the book dragged a bit; was too long. Still, apparently more than 100 million copies of She have been sold since, so it's certainly interesting to know what all the fuss was/is about.

17 February 2009


Twee interessante novellen, beiden vanuit het perspectief van een kind verteld. "Boslowits" vond ik beter, omdat dat wat meer op een onafwendbaar noodlot lijkt af te stevenen. "Nieland" was wat langer en doellozer, hoewel een paar van de sadistische martelscènes wel sterk waren. Ik zou nu wel eens The Acrobat and other stories willen lezen.

7 December 2008


This is a difficult book to get through with its slow, dry text. It's divided up into three parts, in which part two makes up for most of the fun. But parts one and three are necessary and make part two possible, so to say. This structure, relying on unreliable editors and narrators is quite intriguing though. And if the narrative moves somewhat sulkily, the content makes up for it. Its plot about a (Calvinist) religious fanatic egged on to murder in the name of God by a devil figure shows nice parallels both with Faust (or something like The Mask or Star Wars) and with Muslim terrorists nowadays. It makes the book seem far ahead of its time and quite redeems all of its lesser qualities. Fascinating.

15 October 2008


The blueprint for drug-literature and a major influence for writers like Poe and Baudelaire. So, already interesting as milestone in literary history. Fortunately, it's not so badly written either, making it an enjoyable read by itself. Especially like the descriptions of his opium dreams; paranoid, claustrophobic, you get bits with crocodiles and dungeons. Nice stuff.

1 October 2008


It's been almost six years to the day since in first read Frankenstein. I remember being in Friesland with G. and T., but I didn't remember much of the book. Maybe it was a little too difficult then? In any case, it was nice to re-read now. I felt I could grasp a lot more, it didn't seem so difficult anymore. So, in 2008, Frankenstein is still exciting. It's an original, loosely written novel, not easy to categorize. And of course, Milton is all over the place, which makes reading Paradise Lost alongside it all the more interesting.

10 July 2008


De laatste keer dat ik een boek van Hermans las is al weer een tijd geleden, dus ik was haast vergeten hoe goed hij schrijft. Ik had deze novelle in een vloek en een zucht uit en toch beklijft hij. Het is een krachtig verhaal, vol absurditeiten en wreedheden. Deed denken aan Hemingway, Camus, maar ook een beetje aan Cartarescu op de één of andere manier. Deze geslaagde Hermans smaakt naar meer; wellicht zou ik wat van zijn andere boeken weer eens moeten oppakken.

18 Juni 2008

De Bezige Bij, 1963
Oorspronkelijk verschenen 1951


A well-written little book. It reads very smoothly, with calm and lyric prose and meanders towards a disturbing ending. Reminds me a littly of Roald Dahl's short stories. Nice people, but things get a little strange after a while. McEwan keeps it up, so after Atonement and this one I'm sure more will follow.

19 November 2007

Vintage, 2000
Originally published 1981


3e Roemeense boek. Gekocht en inderdaad interessant vanwege de aandacht voor hermafrodieten en travestie. Veel ran zige beelden, herhaling van thema's en soms onbegrijpelijke droompassages. Ook mooie, poëtische scenes. Al met al wat onevenwichtig, onnavolgbaar. De korte lengte zorgt er gelukkig voor dat dat geen probleem vormt.

(citește în română)

24 Oktober 2007

Meulenhoff, 1996
Oorspronkelijke titel Travesti, 1995
Vertaald door Jan Willem Bos


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