Edward van de Vendel
The Days Of Bluegrass Love
The book is situated successively in a provincial town in the Netherlands, a summer camp in Knoxville, USA, and a town in Norway, is about the budding identities of two boys. In order to discover who he is and what he is capable of, after his final exams, Tycho who had an extremely sheltered upbringing, leaves for a year at an American summer camp.
At Amsterdam Schiphol Airport he meets Oliver, a passionate footballer, who is on his way to the same camp. Although they hardly realise it themselves, after a six and a half hour flight a close and passionate relationship has been formed between the pair. It soon becomes obvious, however, that there is no place for juvenile homosexuality in the camp’s views on friendship. When the outside world discovers that the two junior assistants are more than just friends they are sent home in disgrace. They fly to Norway. There, Tycho discovers that football is more important to Oliver than their relationship. Oliver is in love with Tycho, but cannot see himself as being gay. Tycho’s confusion, the physical contact and the macho world of football are depicted just as clearly and convincingly as the society’s hypocrisy regarding homosexuals. There is plenty to read between the lines. The cutting dialogue, in short and strongly contrasting scenes, makes one boy’s search for his own identity more than just a literary experience.