A contemporary love story
Although Rosenboom’s newest novel Point Shoes is set in contemporary Amsterdam rather than being historical, it is vintage Rosenboom. Its iron-clad construction and strong plot ensure that the story of the love of the apparently dull Bijman for Esther, a woman he meets at tango lessons, will haunt the reader.
As with Bepol, the shipbuilder of Rosenboom’s previous novel The New Man (De nieuwe man, 2003), developments run away with Bijman (the name means, literally, secondary man), a lonely man for whom life only becomes exciting when he meets Esther.
Unfortunately the love is unrequited and she declares almost immediately that she is in love ‘with an Indian.’ Esther tries to keep Bijman at a distance when Shanna, her friend from India, actually shows up in Amsterdam.
Keeping Bijman at a distance turns out to be more difficult than expected. He has become obsessed by her, checking every evening whether the light in her room is on, and on one occasion even breaking into her house and stealing her point shoes. Without realizing it, he has become a stalker.
Rosenboom succeeds in engaging the reader’s humour throughout as well as keeping him in suspense about the outcome of Bijman’s abominable bungling. He even manages to generate some sympathy for Bijman. The nuances of the book make it both cruel and tender, funny and tragic. Fresh proof of Rosenboom’s mastery.