A goldmine of exquisite prose and a sketchbook of a vanishing world

Notes on train times and the price of sandwiches alternate with flashes of brilliant description: ‘small yacht with 4 white sails on motionless water, mirror image (!), no separation between water and sky’; ‘lots and lots of little lambs curled up like pussycats’; ‘the poplars across the river, so tall and top-heavy, and slender, no leaves except on top, a curtain of enchanted Egyptian trees, Pharaoh walking among them.’

Some characters come straight out of Nescio’s stories: ‘the train was full of onanists who got out somewhere it wasn’t supposed to stop, 12 to 16 years old, foolish faces, glasses, cigarettes, cardboard suitcases and ill-fitting clothes.’

The diary dates from 1946 to 1955, just as the baby boom and urban renewal were starting to change the Netherlands completely; Nescio captured a landscape that he knew would soon be gone forever.


J.H.F. Grönloh (1882-1961), the writer who went by the pseudonym Nescio (Latin for I Don’t Know), as co-director of the Holland-Bombay Trading Company in Amsterdam, was not part of the literary world. When he died, only a few people knew that he had even written a book. For many years Nescio was…

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Natuurdagboek (1996). Non-fictie, 528 pagina's.

Editor: Lieneke Frerichs

Thema's: natuur


Nijgh & Van Ditmar

Weteringschans 259
NL - 1017 XJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 760 72 10

[email protected]

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