Childhood Two novellas

Gerard Reve, 1923-2006

Book - 2018

"In Werther Nieland, young Elmer longs to make friends and tries to control the world around him by forming secret clubs, of which he is always the president. When he invites Werther to become a member, a game of attraction and repulsion begins. What follows is psychological masterpiece; Reve brilliantly conjures up a child's whole world, full of oppression and enchantment. Set during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, The Fall of the Boslowits Family sees a boy watch as the family of o...ne of his friends slowly falls apart. This is a deceptively simple story imbued with subtle horror. These two classic novellas, from the giant of post-war Dutch literature Gerard Reve, have all of the uncanny atmosphere and the incisive, dark wit of his previous work The Evenings."--Provided by publisher.

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Subjects
Genres
Novellas
Published
London ; Pushkin Press 2018.
Language
English
Dutch
Physical Description
155 pages ; 20 cm
ISBN
9781782274582
1782274588
Main Author
Gerard Reve, 1923-2006 (-)
Other Authors
Sam Garrett (translator)
  • Werther Nieland
  • The fall of the Boslowits family.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This humorous yet wrenching volume comprises two psychologically acute novellas by Reve (The Evenings). In the first novella, "Werther Nieland," Elmer, an 11-year-old living in Amsterdam, loves to create secret societies that resemble dictatorships over his friends. But after he meets Werther Nieland, a boy who is the friend of his neighbor, Elmer develops an obsession with him. By showing Elmer's darkest thoughts and actions, including torturing animals and physically and mentally attacking his friends, Reve allows Elmer to stand out as a strange and despicable, albeit comical, character in what would otherwise be a children's story. The second novella, "The Fall of the Boslowits Family" stands out as a heartbreaking account of a Jewish family in the Netherlands during WWII. Simon, a young man, tells the story of his family's relationship with their friends Hans and Jaane Boslowits and their sons, Otto and Hans. Reve often jumps forward in time, effectively demonstrating how quickly the Nazis invaded the country and set out to systemically exterminate the Jews, and how the Boslowits family was torn apart and ruined. In this story, Reve's characters pass no overt judgments and make no moralizing comments, but by simply recounting the acts as they affected the young narrator, Reve paints a devastating, terrifying portrait of a pivotal era. Together, these two novellas showcase the author's excellent range. (Mar.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents two classic novellas, which are considered among the post-war Dutch author’s best work, that have all the uncanny atmosphere and the incisive, dark wit of his hit book The Evenings.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

From the author of the hit The Evenings - two classic novellas that are considered among Gerard Reve's best work

Young Elmer longs to make friends and tries to control the world around him by forming secret clubs, of which he is always the president. When he invites Werther to become a member, a game of attraction and repulsion begins. What follows is a psychological masterpiece; Reve brilliantly conjures up a child's whole world, full of oppression and
enchantment.

During the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, a boy watches as the family of one of his friends slowly loses everything and is then taken away. This is a deceptively simple story imbued with subtle horror.

These two classic novellas, from the giant of post-war Dutch literature Gerard Reve, have all of the uncanny atmosphere and the incisive, dark wit of The Evenings.