The Ways of the Imagination
A classic novel displaying the versatility of the grande dame of Dutch letters
Another dimension of Haasse’s talent is on display in The Ways of the Imagination, an impressive product of her creative powers in which her evocative prose shimmers with hidden meanings. A truck driver gives a stranded Dutch family a lift to the south of France and, as they drive through the night, tells them about his adventures on the road. Many of the characters are caught up in uncanny events; others are enigmatic figures, powered by passions they choose not to explain. This casts the reader in the role of detective, requiring us to collect the clues, tie together the loose ends and reconstruct the story of a life.
We never see the big picture – a recurring theme in Haasse’s work. What she shows us are mere snippets of Ariadne’s thread in the labyrinth. In this classic novel, Haasse explores the timeless literary theme that we never really know another person; however hard we try, we cannot uncover another’s true motives. All we can do is weave circles around the mystery and follow its trail down the paths of the imagination.