Nothing to Lose and Yet Afraid
Classic memoir by the most original and leading polemical journalist of the Netherlands
An age-old problem of love is the fear that we could be left by the beloved. Nothing to Lose and Yet Afraid is a memoir about the breakdown of a relationship and divorce, a classic in the Netherlands, in which fury, grief and fear were laid bare in Renate Rubinstein’s weekly newspaper columns.
‘Bugger. Man gone, cases packed, vanished. (…) House bloody dark at night. Not that the last months have been a bundle of fun, but still weird to open the door to any room and find no one there. Not even someone day-dreaming of another woman, or quickly cutting off the phone. Unbearable.’
So starts one of the most gripping ego-documents in Dutch literature. After ten years of marriage, Rubinstein’s husband told her that he was leaving her for another woman. Caught up in rage and disappointment, Rubinstein was unable to write on any subject other than her divorce, sharing her fury with her many readers. Her despair, bewilderment, gloom, all were reported with a directness and immediacy.
Years later, she filled out these spontaneous outpourings with more considered reflections on love and life to form Nothing to Lose and Yet Afraid. The book has never gone out of print since publication in the early 1990s. All can identify with its subject matter, and also with Renate Rubinstein herself who – in a style reminiscent of Joan Didion – wrote courageously, intelligently and honestly about her own drama in an original, lively and beautiful way, and without pathos.