Two novellas

No author from the Netherlands has influenced later generations so profoundly as Gerard Reve – the marriage of eloquence and everyday banality is central to his style of writing. Before the publication of his debut novel 'De Avonden', Reve wrote two impressive novellas.

Fiction
Original title
Novellen
Author
Gerard Reve

The Downfall of the Boslowits Family is set during the Holocaust, yet nowhere is this theme made explicit. Instead we watch through the eyes of an Amsterdam boy as the family of one of his friends slowly loses everything and is then taken away. The only one left behind is the father, who later takes his own life. Because the word ‘Jewish’ is never mentioned, the reader senses this could have happened to anyone.

Werther Nieland is a novella set in the working-class Amsterdam neighbourhood where Reve grew up. It is the tale of young Elmer, who longs to make friends and tries to control the world around him by forming secret clubs, of which he is the president. When he invites Werther to become a member, a game of attraction and repulsion begins. It is a psychological masterpiece; in just a few words, Reve conjures up a child’s whole world, full of oppression and enchantment.

One of the great stylists of modern Dutch literature.

The Times Literary Supplement
Gerard Reve
The most widely read book by Gerard Reve (1923-2006) remains his debut 'De Avonden' (The Evenings, 1947), but the controversial, epistolary novels 'Op weg naar het einde' (On My Way to the End, 1963) and 'Nader tot U' (Nearer to Thee, 1966), with their frank discussion of homosexuality and the author’s conversion to Catholicism, were instrumental in establishing Gerard Reve as a public figure in the Netherlands.
Part ofFiction
Share page