books, fiction

Abandoned Book Review: In the Dutch mountains

In the Dutch mountains (Cees Nooteboom, 2013, London, MacLehose Press) It takes a lot for me to give up on a book. I love reading things that are obscure, a bit slow, or fast, based on reality or out-there fantastical. I could not get on with this book. And it is tiny. Out of its 157 pages, I gave up at 45. I didn’t like the narrator, I didn’t care about anything he was writing about beyond the first few tiny chapters and I just didn’t get it. The story is apparently based on The Snow Queen, one of my absolute favourite Ladybird books when I was growing up. I remember the vivid, often disturbing, artwork; Kay feeling ‘a sharp pain in [his] heart’; the frightening contrast between warmth and ice, love and terror. In the Dutch mountains did not reawaken any of my childhood curiosity; and while I understand that this should not be a reason to stop reading as an adult, I simply didn’t enjoy what I was reading. I have a massive booklist, and Mr Nooteboom is on it. I just don’t think this book will be on the finished top 100. One thousand? Million? Reading it was giving me a sharp pain in my heart for all other books I could be reading, loving and feeling inspired by. Back to basement with you, Nooteboom!

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