Extract from ‘The Friendship’

On the first day of school I saw her again, and a little while later we found ourselves in the same room. From the moment we crossed the threshold of the classroom our fate was sealed. It turned out just as I thought it would. I’m used to things happening that way. For years this…

Extracts from ‘The Office’

‘I’ve been invited to a conference,’ he told her after they’d sat down to eat. ‘Again?’ she asked. ‘What do you mean — again?’ Her reaction irritated him. ‘I hardly ever get invited to conferences.’ ‘But you’ve just been to one!’ She sounded indignant. ‘All you ever do these days is go to conferences! You’re…

Extract from ‘Child of Another Time’

Dutch had become the language I was growing up with, the language in which I was learning to express myself precisely and with subtlety. My Dutch kept pace with my development, grew along with my need to put feelings and ideas into words and to comprehend them. I spoke the kind of Dutch that was…

Extract from ‘The Flood’

Balikpapan, 1947 Sometimes, in Balikpapan, we went away for the day, to swim in a ‘real’ swimming pool that had escaped destruction in the war. ‘We’, meaning a lot of Salikpapanese’, Dutch families who lived in Balikpapan. About ten jeeploads of us would drive northwards along the coast in the still-grey darkness of the morning.…

Quest for his Dreamland

Jeroen Brouwers’s East Indies Triptych For several centuries now writing has no longer been an activity exclusive to gentlemen of leisure, but even in the twentieth century there are still writers around who are lords and masters of a piece of land, a city, or a building. Faulkner exercises his authority over Yoknapatawpha County, Proust…