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Thursday, January 25, 2018

All Souls Day (1998) by Cees Nooteboom


Book Review
All Souls Day (1998)
by Cees Nooteboom

  A concise description of All Souls Day by Dutch author Cees Nooteboom sounds like a precis of all European fiction in the post-war period, "A Dutch photo-journalist grapples with the consequences of losing his wife and young daughter in a plane crash en route to Holiday in Spain.  He moves between Berlin and Spain, falling in love with a young scholar researching an obscure medieval Spanish queen."

  I mean, am I right? That is literally every European novel that has made it into an English translation.  Where, for example, are the Dutch/Belgian/German/Italian/Czech historical novels (besides Umberto Eco)?  Where are the bildungsromans? It seems like every book is another potential Wim Wenders Euro cinema clunker, with no excitement in sight.

  The interesting bits for me were more about the love interest and her academic quest to uncover this (fictional?) medieval Spanish queen.  Everyone is sad.

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