Tomorrow Pamplona by Jan Van Mersbergen

Source – review copy .

Translator – Laura Watkinson

Jan Van Mersbergen is a Dutch writer ,Has published 6 novels in his Native holland ,tomorrow Pamplona was his fourth book ,he grew up in Brabant before moving and studying in Amsterdam he has had a number of Jobs such as hod carrier ,postman before becoming a full-time  writer ,he published his first book in 2001 ,the glass biter ,he was up for the Bng new literature prize and Hale prize ,with previous books .He is currently editor of De Revisor ,he has his own prize-winning website .

So what is Tomorrow Pamplona about ,well its a road movie in a book it involves two men at different places in their lives coming together day or so ,to go to Pamplona to see the Annual running of the bulls festival ,so who are the two men well first is Danny ,we meet him as he is running through the city ,he is a boxer ,almost be chance he meets Robert a family man who offers him a lift ,so as the two meet ,Robert explains to Danny what his plan is ,now the man of danger the boxer is a little taken back by this but agrees this sends the pair on a long drive through france and spain to be there in time for the running .Most of the action thou is the men discussing there lives and problems ,we find out Danny’s problems with his career and girlfriend  ,Robert is interested in this boxer and what makes him tick ,as is Danny with Robert what makes a seemingly normal family man turn to this Madness of the bull run .

Robert says:for a man who doesn’t have specific place in mind ,Pamplona is a great destination ,Maybe the best of all

Yeah ,maybe .

You’re welcome to come .If you like .

Pamplona ,Danny thinks,flicking the door shut .

If you’ve got guts .

Robert takes his foot off the accelerator.Then he presses down agin and lets the engine roar .#Danny snorts it not about guts ,he says .

Yeah I ve heard that one before .

I’ll come with you .

Danny decide to take a trip that will touch both there lives for a long time after .

I start this book a little nervous ,one surface it would seem my type of book I love road movies ,but had little nagging voice saying is this not going be some book about machismo ,which I wouldn’t enjoy as much as I ve like Hemingway’s books he has oft drifted towards this but I pleased to say ,Jan’s book is about men and there souls and maybe a bit how we are all kids inside that love images of danger as a child and sometimes have to grasp them ,it is about how we feel with love and loss as men  .There have been loads of books written from a female perspective on love and life ,but it was great to read a book that caught the male experience so well .I think we all are Danny at some point in our lives ,the confused let down in love guy that maybe can’t get a hold of his feels ,I for one associated with him .Robert on the other hand is the man we hope to be in some ways ,a family man happy but still want to touch those dreams of childhood by random acts of madness like going to the running of the bulls . So he feels more alive and those a better family man .As the book unfold Danny became more like Robert ,and vice versus Robert became a bit of Danny in his own way .I would love this as a film I think Meike has picked the perfect Two Hour book to become a two jour film ,I could imagine the great road movie director Wim Wenders using this book to make a great film on being a man but the real meaning of being a man ,not the machismo ,the feeling and soul we all have .I may also say Laura’s translation is just stunning ,she has kept the maleness of the voices so well ,you wouldn’t tell she was a female translator and that is really good work .

How did this book touch you ?

Did it make you look at the man in your life different ?





12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vishy
    Jun 07, 2011 @ 13:58:46

    Wonderful review, Stu! Both Robert and Danny look like such wonderful characters! The translation seems to be amazing from your description! Thanks for writing about this book 🙂


  2. Heather
    Jun 07, 2011 @ 18:02:35

    I can’t recall that I have read a book by a dutch author in ages. Will keep reading your reviews and see if one absolutely demands that I stop and read it.


  3. Jessica
    Jun 08, 2011 @ 11:47:54

    I have this on order and should receive it shortly so I’m really looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the review


  4. amymckie
    Jun 08, 2011 @ 12:27:25

    Glad to see you liked this one Stu!


  5. gaskella
    Jun 08, 2011 @ 17:22:55

    I really enjoyed it, and although it was a very masculine book, it wasn’t macho if you get what I mean.


  6. parrish
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 05:33:23

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which seems to be the general consensus from among those that have read, would be interesting to compare it with other books by the author.


  7. Trackback: An Overview of Posts for Dutch Literature Month (1) | Iris on Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

June 2011


%d bloggers like this: