Cees Nooteboom, hailed by A. S. Byatt as one of the greatest modern novelists, is one of Hollands most important authors. In Lost Paradise, Nootebooms most ambitious book yet, he sets out to uncover the connections between two seemingly unrelated travelers.
Alma, a young woman of German descent, leaves her parents Sao Paolo home on a hot summer night. Her car engine dies in one of the citys most dangerous favelas, a mob surrounds her, and she is pulled from the automobile. Not long after, Dutch novelist Erik Zontag is in Perth, Australia, for a literary conference and finds a winged woman curled up in a closet in an empty house. The intersection of their paths illuminates the ways in which the divine touches our lives.
With a beautiful stranger aboard a Berlin-bound flight and a haggard-looking man on a Holland train platform, Nooteboom builds a complex, haunting story of longing, regret, and rebirth in the dawn of the new millennium. Lost Paradise is an affirmation of our underlying humanity in an increasingly fragmented age, a deeply resonant tale of cosmically thwarted love.
The pronoun I is better because more direct.
From The Secretaries Guide, in the section The Writer, New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language, 1952
Dash 8-300. heaven knows, Ive flown in all types of aircraft, but this is the first time I have ever been in a Dash. Its a small, compact plane, though it feels bigger because there are very few passengers. The seat next to me is empty. Apparently not many people are interested in flying from Friedrichshafen to Berlin-Tempelhof. Our forlorn little group of passengers walked from the no-frills terminal to the plane you can still do that here and is now waiting for take-off. The sun is shining, there is a stiff breeze. The pilot, already up front, fiddles with the knobs. I hear the co-pilot talking to the control tower. Empty moments like these are familiar to anyone who does a lot of flying.
The engines have not been ...
No doubt this novel will be divisive, declared alternately a masterpiece, masterful, and a real "piece of work" by critics and readers of all stripes. Some of us don't like to work quite so hard to get to the bottom of things, while others find greatest pleasure in the challenge. Still others won't care about dissecting and distilling, choosing instead to read this slip of a novel for its dreamy, grainy-film-like qualities, suspended in time and just outside of the concrete world.
(Reviewed by Lucia Silva).
Full Review (951 words).
About the Dreamtime
Nooteboom introduces us to Alma and Almut, best friends barely out of teenagehood, as they leave their childhood homes in Sao Paulo, Brazil for Australia. They're on a rather listless quest in search of The Dreamtime, an Aboriginal concept of creation and spiritual existence with which the two best friends have become enamored and obsessed. The psychological and spiritual experience of The Dreamtime is notoriously impossible to explain to those outside the secretive Aboriginal culture, but the basis for the belief is well documented.
Considered by some to be the longest continuous culture on earth, the Aborigines are the descendents of the first known human inhabitants of Australia. Divided into ...
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