Excerpt from Joop: A Novel of Anne Frank (A Hatred for Tulips) by Richard Lourie, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Joop: A Novel of Anne Frank (A Hatred for Tulips)

by Richard Lourie

Joop: A Novel of Anne Frank (A Hatred for Tulips) by Richard Lourie
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2007, 192 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2008, 192 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Now I hated him. It was our mother reborn as an American teenager and though the hair was done up in an American style, it was still our mother’s thick, blond hair, and her eyes were the same too, she even had the same green vein at the side of her temple. So, not only did he get to have our mother for all his childhood, he got to have her again as a grandchild.

But I must not be transparent in any way—at least, he didn’t seem to notice. “Cindy’s a terrific kid, kind, helpful, full of good, clean fun. And of all the kids and grandkids, she’s the one who’s most interested in her Dutch background. Reads everything she can get her hands on.”

“You should have brought her over.”

“Maybe next time,” he said with what seemed a kind of wistful sadness. Maybe he had some serious illness, I thought, maybe that’s why he’s decided to make the trip and see his brother, though he still hasn’t once called me by name.

“She should come,” I said. “Holland has plenty to offer. But teach her one thing from her uncle.”

“What’s that?”

“Not to ooh and aah over the tulips. I hate tulips. They’re too pretty when they’re alive and look so dead when they die. But the real reason I hate them is I know what they taste like. In the war, at the end, when there was nothing, we ate them, we ate tulip bulbs.”

“I don’t remember that,” he said. “I don’t remember much. And the few memories I do have, I can’t be sure if they’re really true or just stories my mother, our mother, told me.”

“You’re lucky then.”

“But I want to know what happened. During the war. And just after.”

“What for?”

“You know the feeling when someone starts to tell you a good story, then right after he gets going he decides he shouldn’t be telling it and just stops. And you try to convince him that once you start a story, you have to finish, it isn’t fair otherwise. Most people will give in to that but sometimes they won’t and you’re left completely frustrated. Well, that’s sort of how I feel about my life, except it’s the beginning I don’t know about.”

“And that’s why you came here?”

“That’s why I came here, Joop.”

“Well, maybe you can tell me a few stories too.”

“Maybe I can.”

“Except for a few postcards from our mother and the letter you sent when she died, there’s not much I know.”

“I know,” he said, dropping his eyes. “I’m sorry.”

“Another beer?”

“Another beer would be good.”

For a second in the kitchen I did not want to go back to the table, to my brother, to the past and all its sorrows.

I looked out the window. The sky was a bright blue with a few gray rain clouds. A young woman pedaled by on a black bike, talking on her cell phone.

If I had died three years ago in the hospital, none of this would have happened, my brother, the rain cloud, the girl on her bike. But I didn’t die.

I went back to the front room.

My brother took a long swig of beer. The part of the story he did know—our mother leaving our father, who had been incapacitated by a stroke right after the war—wasn’t too pretty, and the part he didn’t know about wasn’t any prettier.

Take a good swig, my lucky American brother, who has so few bad memories that he had to come all the way to Holland to get some.

“You know who Anne Frank is?” I asked.

“Of course,” he said, as if I had offended his intelligence and Dutch pride.

“When they came to get her, they went right to her hiding place.”

Copyright © 2007 by Richard Lourie. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Graybar Hotel
    The Graybar Hotel
    by Curtis Dawkins
    We – those of us on the outside – are lucky. So very lucky. We get to experience life &#...
  • Book Jacket: The Force
    The Force
    by Don Winslow
    Intense! That's the word. Winslow's The Force rips through its four hundred pages with the...
  • Book Jacket: Shadow Man
    Shadow Man
    by Alan Drew
    Alan Drew's debut novel, Gardens of Water, was an ambitious work of literary fiction set amid ...

Win this book!
Win The Library of Light and Shadow

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

"Possibly her best yet. A sensuous, sumptuous, and spellbinding novel." - Kirkus Reviews

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Almost Sisters
    by Joshilyn Jackson

    A powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T H Are B T O

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.