Het verdriet van België PDF/EPUB Û Het verdriet

Het verdriet van België This novel covers the period just before the Nazi occupation of Belgium until just after its liberation by the allied forces It is written from the point of view of Louis Seynaeve an adolescent attending a convent school and focuses on his relations with his small gang 'de Apostelen' with his religious teachers and with his family especially his bickering parents Much of the narrative deals with that which is most abject in Louis' character his various thefts his collaboration and participation in Belgium's own Nazi sympathisers his bullying including sexual and political bullying and his undermining of his parents' fragile marriage Hugo Claus uses the relationships of family and village as a trope for Belgium's national weakness and fractiousness Some of the characters complain that no one in Belgium can think in grand terms because the country is so parochial; personal and political relations alike are mired in pettiness The 'sorrow' of Belgium therefore is not simply the occupation by the Germans it is found in the personal and political complicity arising from narrow self interests The first identification of the 'sorrow' of the book's title is personal and implicates Louis himself After being found to have stolen money from his Tante Violet Meerke says to Louis Het verdriet van Belgie dat zijt gij p 483 The second identification of the 'verdriet' is political and occurs when Staf Louis' father is released from the prison he was taken to after the liberation Staf on being reunited with his family tells them that he wants to apologise to the Jews; the family shares an awareness of their complicity in the Holocaust The parents consider moving to Argentina want hier is toch alleen maar verdriet te verwachten says Louis' mother Het verdriet van Belgie says Staf p 650 A later book by Clause 'De Geruchten' also uses war to highlight the tensions within a Belgian family and the village within which it lives A soldier returning from fighting in a Belgian colony provokes conflict over which family was or was not 'fout' during the years of Nazi occupation These are good and important books Should Claus have won the Noble Prize as so many Belgians think? Yes and no He’s a master of language turning vernacular into poetry but the setting of the novel is so specific that a reader has to be informed about Belgian politics before and during WWII Anyway Claus is the most awarded writer of the Dutch linguistic reason The Sorrow of Belgium is known as a novel about collaboration but it really is roman à clef about a middle class family implied in the Flemish Movement during WWII They are all caught up in their petty ways they lie and they hush up unconvenient eventsMore specifically it’s a Bildungsroman about the wayward child and adolescent Louis Seynaeve foil of Hugo Claus growing up to be a writer finding its way in the fast changing society of his time The first part of the novel “Het verdriet” turns out to be the novel he will be writing in the second part “van BelgiëClaus does not state in his novel that the sorrow of Belgium is indeed the collaboration in which some Flemish people were indeed engaged The phrase is mentioned several times but mostly in the context of difficult family life or to describe Louis when he steals money from his aunt Het verdriet van België dat zijt gij’ zei Meerke en hapte naar adem met een rauw snurkjeI was mostly impressed by Claus’ writing style His sentences start of in reality and drift off to another reality surreal or real”’Langsam Leevaert ein guter Mensch geht immer langsam’ zei een glazige Marnix de Puydt en sliep zijn waggelende Vlaamse Kop zocht en vond de schouder van Leevaert die ongemakkelijk zijn glas naar zijn mond bracht Het gesnurk uit De Puydt’s mond werd een gegrom dat zwol en vervaarlijk grolde en zich enkele uren later over de stad Walle verspreidde dik als rook de bommenwerpers hadden de opdracht om het station van Walle te vernielen en daarvoor had men in Covent Garden Engeland een vierkant getekend waarbinnen alles plat mocht en in het zuidwesten van dat vierkant lag het gesticht van Haarbeke waar de toren scheurde waar de witte draaimolen de lucht insprong tot tegen de dakgoot een sterfelijke salto mortale en waar drie zusters en zeven kinderen stierven waaronder Aristoteles de Puydt serafijn” This makes the novel uite hard to follow as so much happens in between the linesClaus made up his own kind of Flemish a mix of different dialects He also applies this to other languagesChurchill die gewacht heeft tot al zijn tommies ongedeerd ingescheept zijn onder de vlammen van tienduizenden brandbommen verklaart plechtig ‘Bon all right oké zegt aan de Belgen dat wij goed thuisgekomen zijn en dat zij nu de vuiligheid achter ons mogen opkuisen’ Koning George stuurt een antwoord ‘Dear Leopold doe niet kinderachtig kom naar Londen ge gaat hier goed verzorgd worden’ ‘No sir’ zegt onze Sire Lanoye chose The Sorrow of Belgium as the greatest Flemish book ever in a poll organised by the public broadcast This doesn’t surprise me at all as he also mixes vernacular and poetry in his novels Moreover during a performance he made a spoof of Guido Gezelle Where might he have found his inspiration? Right ClausIk heb vanavond ‘O krinklende winklende waterding met ’t zwarte kabotseken aan’ enz gereciteerd Ik moest het nog eens doen en zei ‘O stinkende winkelende paterding schart er uw rokske maar aan’ Niemand heeft het verschil gemerkt Tante Nora trok de voorhuid naar beneden dan weer naar boven schudde er zijdelings mee ‘O krinklende winklende waterding’ reciteerde zij ‘met uw roze kabotseke aan’ Why yes incest is one of Claus’ favourite themes compare with De MetsiersIt’s sad that The Sorrow of Belgium is one of the most unfinished Flemish novels as the dialogues are so fresh and livelyBoMama bedaarde plukte aan haar sjaals ‘Liefdesverdriet het doet zeer maar het is het zout van ’t leven’ ‘Ik heb liever een pekelharing’ zei Tante HélèneRead The Sorrow of Belgium if you want a political story mixed with pettiness and poetry horror and humour I am not sure how to rate a book I stopped reading Sorrow of Belgium was beautifully written had a marvelously shifting point of view and the topic is very interesting to me but it just than I could handle somehow and when it was due back at the library the second time I didn't re renew it I think it is a winter book or maybe a vacation book definitely not a in competition with spring gardening and hiking and biking and visitors book In some ways autobiographical if you read a bit about the life of the author the book tells us about the life of a boy from a small town in Flanders Dutch speaking part of Belgium At some point we observe real events sometimes we're immersed in fantasies and dreams of a boy who grows up rapidly during very difficult years of his homeland just before the Second World War during the German occupation and in the first post war years The author plays with the language transmits through different languages and dialects which his personages are using the characters of those people and the motivation of their actions The language in general is a very important hero of this book The translator in Ukrainian skillfully emphasized it using in particular various dialects of UkrainianThe Flemish suffer from the harassment of the Francophones Dutch speakers are feeling in their own country as a people of the second sort and this is one of the factors why there was such a high degree of collaboration with the Nazis during the war this situation is very interesting for Ukrainians I think because it coincides uite completely with the situation of Ukrainians in the interwar Poland and explains the motivation of the Ukrainians towards respectively the Germans and the Poles in the days of the occupation The transformation of an exalted boy brought up in a strict Catholic school into a member of the Flemish Hitler Youth is accompanied by a parallel description of his father's careful collaboration and his mother's love affair with the Nazi occupation administration officerDecent people and good Catholics are drawn with the small imperceptible steps into cooperation with the Nazis walking the path of conformismAnd after the victory of the Allies when the German occupation contingent is replaced by Americans the Flemish are adapting once again adjusting just for the appearance to the ideals of the new 'masters of life' and arranging witch hunt for their personal enemies although many of the persecutors committed the same sins as the persecuted for collaborating with the NazisThe culmination of this sad theater of the absurd is an attempt by a former member of the Hitler Youth to impose himself as a Jew during the submission of a manuscript to a contest of short stories depicting suffering of Belgian people in the war yearsSo the novel leaves an aftertaste which fully corresponds to its name For me this is one of the masterpieces of the dutch litrature alongside some of the works of Reve and Mulisch and some others It's an absolute synthesis of how people and maybe a whole nation searches his own identity and culture through it's history A history which contains fouls and uncertainty as the collaboration with the German occupation which is also a very personal aspect in Hugo his life and is represented in the main figure Louis and his familyAllthough for non Belgian people without the knowledge about the collaboration in Belgium and Belgium in general this can be a very difficult book to read FINALLYI've finished this gigantic difficult book I must say I love reading about WW2 because it affected my country in a significant way and it shaped our present day and age in so many obvious and conspicuous waysIn that regard I must say that often the material is hard to get through because where do you write about the reality of it and how do you describe itThere's romantic fiction for instance Atonement or heroic matter like The Caine Mutiny but there's also the example of The Kindly Ones which is also a very dark novel about this still recent war in our memoriesThe Sorrow of Belgium has a lot in common with the Kindly Ones Of course the point of view isn't German but I'm afraid I must admit that most Belgians weren't as good to the bone as I'd like to think they were It seems that now we are betrayed of having a powerful resistance and we lived under German law in despair and fear but as Claus paints his picture it seems that we thrived under the Germans and we were eually against the allied powers because it were their bombs destroying our homes and killing our loved onesNot until the end I noticed a change and not so much because we hated what we were living under but because the horrible truth came out of Hitler's regimeIt must have been a confusing time First to see that you fit in with everyone and later on being punished for just doing what everyone else didI'm belgian so this novel takes place in my country in a place not too far away from me I can to some extent relate to the protagonist because it happened here where I live and I can feel what he felt because I grew up in a environment much like it I' m a child of the eighties where we still felt the scars the war left us but which was in so many ways a much better period to grow up than todayLouis Seynaeve the protagonist spends his youth mainly bored and dragged to his family members or dropped of at school where he stays as internHe spends his time thinking of stories telling them to his class mates and imagining so much He takes the cruelty of the war and the period before when it wasn't sure a war would ever come to pass and molds into something romantic where he mostly puts himself in the center ofThe insecurities of his time plus the fact that he is slowly going through his puberty which brings confusion in his life is the basis for a story that took me months to finishThe reason it took me so long is not because it's a bad book Au contraire The Sorrow of Belgium is deeply meaningful and very layered which is the reason why I took my time reading it There is just no rushing this novelClaus did a very good job giving me a sense of Belgium before and during the war for which I am grateful May he rest in peace and his literary works remembered forever Visit any time There are political novels and there are personal novels; and then there is Het verdriet reminding us that political perception cannot be separated from personal experience A fine highly credible coming of age novel and the key to understanding Belgian politics 1938 today2013 rolled into one Not only as a hardcover on my shelf I realy read this one This is one of those in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list and originally written in Dutch It is considered one of the masterpieces of Dutch literatureI plodded through this with zero knowledge about Belgium and its history and I can honestly say I got lost When I finished it I had one uestion in my mind what the hell was this all about? Maybe this would have been the experience of someone from Belgium with zero knowledge about the Philippines reading Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere translated into Dutch The setting is of course Belgium During the Nazi occupation Central to the story was Louis who was a mischievous adolescent at the start of the novel an aunt who caught him stealing money from her called him the Sorrow of Belgium A sort of introduction was written by its translator Arnold J Pomerans where I got a forewarning about the novel’s “multilayered complexity” and I am sure this is true it was indeed multilayered and complex that I got lost in the maze I was supposed to enjoy the dialogues indeed there are mostly dialogues here but I found them insipid with my humble apology to the author the translator and the whole of BelgiumMaybe this was one instance where too much was lost in the translation? Ambientada en Bélgica durante los últimos años del III Reich esta novela narra la adolescencia de Louis Seynaeve hijo de una familia peueñoburguesa y ultraconservadora orgullosa de su propia inanidad Con el paso de los años Louis desencantado abandona los mitos de la niñez y descubre la naturaleza hipócrita del mundo adultoObra de factura clásica y proporciones épicas polémica hilarante y cruda a partes iguales La pena de Bélgica es uno de los mayores monumentos de la literatura europea

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