The foxes come at night by Cees Nooteboom

Source – review copy

Translator – Ina Rilke

This is Cees latest collection to be translated in to English ,Cees Nooteboom is a dutch writer ,he has written numerous books fiction and non fiction .He has won numerous awards and I was lucky enough to interview him yesterday on the blog .

Now this collection is a theme collection of short stories ,the themes are ,memories ,death looking back at life’s lost moments ,lost loves .As you can tell this is Cees looking back on life ,when I first heard of this collection and read the synopsis of the book the book that sprung to mind was  Kazuo Ishiguro nocturnes came to mind even more so when the first story was called Gondolas ,but this is so much better the stories all stand alone and don’t feel as thou they been worked at  to fit a theme as a couple of the nocturnes stories did.These stories are touching and thoughtful works ,a man who thinks of a past love Paula then the story is flipped as she sense he remembering her this is drifting story of dreams memories and love ,we drift through the Mediterranean through ex pats ,these  stories are meditations on lives lived and lovers lost ,Cees is a craftsman at his writing and Ina Rilke the translator who managed to keep the wonderful poetic feel to these stories ,I don’t want give away too much as I think you need to read these to appreciate them .Memories and old age which is what this book is really about is something that I love having worked at the beginning of my vocation with older people and done some work on memories involving a play worked from the collected memories of the people I looked after ,this book gave me that feel it wasn’t Cees life more a collection of   people stories and experiences thrown together and blended by Cees to these small gems and flashes into people’s lives  .Lizzie Siddal said she felt uncomfortable with the looking back feel of the book ,I didn’t but working with people and experiencing death a number of times I was touched by them .

Back in his empty apartment in Amsterdam he waited for news from her ,letters written in an unaesthetic ,almost naive american hand ,margins splattered with zodiac and scillian signs to ward off the evil eye ,and wondered what on earth he had written in reply .He no longer knew which of them had stopped writing ,   but he had a clear memory of the excitement he had felt ,a good twenty years on ,at receiving a letter written in the old familiar scrawl

from the opening story Gondolas .

Another thing unbook related that this collection reminded me of was the work of the late Johnny cash his American collection of albums which rung with his life and people he’d known like this collection ,these two artists in later years both looking back ,but still making wonderful art ,like Cash’s work which I love, Nooteboom seems to have got better with age here is a writer that knows his craft and how to use it without feeling like he is going oh yes I m Cees Nooteboom ,like you get with some of his contemporaries in english do from time to time .The collection is 150 pages long and I read it on the train to London which wa perfect as on a rainy day I was transported to Spain , Italy and other places .So I d say this book is a perfect wet Sunday afternoon read ,it is one that will stick with you for a long time after you put the book down .

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah
    Jul 01, 2011 @ 07:47:54

    Having read your interview with Cees Nootebaum, I immediately stopped by Amazon to see if The foxes come at night was available… I haven’t bought it yet but your review is very persuasive, and this title is going to skip right up the wish list🙂

    Reply

  2. Emily Jane
    Jul 01, 2011 @ 15:34:31

    I love Johnny Cash too, Stu! This book sounds great.

    Reply

  3. Vishy
    Jul 01, 2011 @ 17:32:34

    Wonderful review, Stu! Your comparison of Nooteboom with Ishiguro, is tempting me to read this book🙂 I found the translator’s name interesting – Ina Rilke. Is she related in some way to Rainer Maria Rilke?🙂

    Reply

  4. parrish
    Jul 01, 2011 @ 19:42:39

    I loved Nocturnes so will probably give this a go, also a fan of the Man in black’s work.

    Reply

  5. Bina
    Jul 03, 2011 @ 14:49:46

    I love the theme of this one and I also greatly enjoyed Nocturnes, so this one will have to go on the list. Thanks, Stu!🙂

    Reply

  6. Geosi
    Jul 05, 2011 @ 12:30:24

    I saw the interview. Was wonderful as I said earlier on. The book does sound like an interesting read. thanks for sharing this.

    Reply

  7. Caroline
    Jul 10, 2011 @ 17:01:34

    I just bought this and am so looking forward to reading it.
    He is such a remarkable writer.

    Reply

  8. Trackback: An Overview of Posts for Dutch Literature Month (2) | Iris on Books
  9. Trackback: The Foxes Come at Night by Cees Nooteboom | Iris on Books
  10. Trackback: Letters to Poseidon by Cees Nooteboom | Winstonsdad's Blog

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