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"A lyrical 'book of days' . . . A bejewelled mosaic" Financial Times
"Humane, insightful and deeply cultured" Times Literary Supplement
Though a tireless explorer of distant cultures, for more than forty years Cees Nooteboom has also been returning to Menorca, "the island of the wind", and it is in his house there, with a study full of books and a garden taken over by cacti and many insects, that the 533 days of writing take place.
The result is not a diary, nor a set of movements of the soul organised by dates, but "a book of days", with observations about what is immediately around him, his love for Menorca, his thoughts on the world, on life and death, on literature and oblivion. Every impression opens windows onto vast horizons: the Divine Comedy and the books it generated, the contempt of Borges for Gombrowicz, the death of David Bowie, the endless flight of the Voyagers, the repetition of history as a tragedy, but never as farce.
533 is a meditative rhapsody that would like to exclude the noise of current events, yet must return to them several times, and sceptically contemplates the threat of a disintegrating Europe. Reading this book is like having an extraordinary conversation with an extraordinary mind.
"The very first pages are so powerful that you suspect the author must have binned the preceding pages that were needed to climb to such heights" De Volkskrant
"The 533 days captivate in their undisguised openness to the world" Suddeutsche Zeitung
Photographs by Simone Sassen * Translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 340 g
Dimensions: 196 x 138 x 26 mm
Nooteboom's book of days is a magnificent book. It is written in an outstanding style. He writes about the most ordinary things, but in a lyrical way . . . A jewel of a book * Leeskost *
A journal of observations and reflections, full of profundities and bright linguistic concision -- Ulrich Greiner * Die Zeit *
the 533 days captivate in their undisguised openness to the world -- Harald Eggebrecht * Sueddeutsche Zeitung *
To read Cees Nooteboom is to be introduced to a rarefied and stately European sensibility: classically educated, receptive, lyrical . . . Nooteboom forces his readers to reflect on what is being said, and to take up their part in the work: for him, literature is a collaborative effort. -- Lilian Pizzichini * Litro Magazine *
Nooteboom is a writer who can butterfly across themes and delve in to draw out the thought provoking nectar * Tripfiction *
A lyrical, meditative 'book of days' . . . A bejewelled prose mosaic of plants, creatures, books and memories, elegantly rendered by Laura Watkinson -- Boyd Tonkin * Financial Times *
It's testimony to the power of this humane, insightful and deeply cultured book that it should resolve the dissonance so gracefully, between the monastic urge to contemplation and the world it would repudiate. -- Nat Segnit * Times Literary Supplement *
Nooteboom's real subject is the one that's defined his career-mainly, the persistent strangeness of existence and its refusal to be fully resolved by religion, philosophy, or science. . . . His journal . . . can seem like a medieval bestiary, a nature chronicle with the vividness of a dream. -- Danny Heitman * Wall Street Journal *
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