The Battle of the Blue Bridge
In this book, which is the overture to the cycle of novels De tandeloze tijd (The Toothless Time), the leading character in the first two volumes is introduced. Albert Egberts is a thirty-year-old junky who by means of a pair of scissors gains entry to cars and empties them to finance his habit. He realizes that he has turned thirty on the day that Queen Beatrix of Holland was crowned in a turbulent Amsterdam on 30 April 1980.
The scissors, Egbert’s daily attribute, acquire a symbolic function for him: two sides cross one another at a point, just as the present and the past join at the hinge of the here and now. Egberts decides to recall his memories in as detailed a fashion as is possible: these memories form the substance of the volumes that followed this prologue.
What is intriguing about De slag om de Blauwbrug is its use of a unique style rich in images to weld a recent and infamous date in Dutch history (as Beatrix was being crowned a battle was raging between police and organised squatters at the Blauwbrug) into material for a novel. Egberts was involved in the riots but did not dare to throw the stone he had in his hand. An image of his powerlessness, also expressed by his impotence. Ironic but true: only his addiction gives him a daily feeling of motion.