When We Lost to the Germans
Another fine example of Van Driel’s work is Toen wij van de Duitsers verloren (When We Lost to the Germans), in which two sad stories are spliced together: the World Cup final of 1974 and the murder of a girl called Leentje.
The story focuses on the experiences of two teenage boys who spend the day making mischief. They talk about the lost football match and the missing girl, and spy through the letterbox at their neighbours having sex. Van Driel uses the dull new housing estates of the Zaandam of his youth as the setting for this double drama. In spite of the serious nature of the stories, he succeeds in giving this book a light and humorous touch.