Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hella S. Haasse: Das Blaue Haus

another book in my series of international writing: the author Hella Haasse is Dutch - she grew up in Indonesia, later lived in Amsterdam and in France. the book i read, "Das Blaue Haus" / "The Blue House" is about 2 sisters, Felicia and Nina who grow up in the Netherlands, and who go into exile to Argentina during the second world war. one of them marries a diplomat, the other sympathizes with left wing political groups. they meet again years later, in their childhood home - the blue house -estranged from each other.

Haasse choose an interesting construction for this novel: the story is told from changing points of view: the 2 sisters, some other characters - and a first person plural "community" we, a combined voice of the villagers who knew the sisters when they were children, and now watch them return. here a line from them: "Was wir von Argentinien wissen, passt in einen Fingerhut. Wir wollen lieber nichts davon wissen." - "What we know about Argentina fits into a thimble. We rather don't want to know about it."

this books also connected with the book about the Thomas Mann family, and the chapters about their time in exile during the second world war.

and here, the book top ten from the Netherlands, 'top tienen boeken': #1: Tatiana de Rosnay (French/English author). followed by #2: Stieg Larsson (Swedish author). and #3: Dan Brown. the first Dutch author is ranking around #6: Paulien Cornelisse ('Taal is zeg maar echt mijn ding' :)

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