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Twee vrouwen
Harry Mulisch
publisher: De Bezige Bij, 1975

translated as:
Two Women
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 1980
translation: Els Early

refered to by:
Old People and the Things that Pass
Louis Couperus


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This is the shortest of the author’s novels to be translated into English. The compelling narrative, the twists and turns of the plot, make the book difficult to put down. It was written twenty-five years ago when many people still regarded lesbian relationships as unnatural and not to be flaunted openly. Others were sympathetic and welcomed Mulisch’s courageous engagement with a hitherto largely taboo subject.
The story starts with a midnight telephone call from a nursing home in Nice to the female curator of a small Amsterdam museum, the narrator of the tale. Her mother has just died and she immediately sets off on the long car journey south. By the end of the book she still has not quite reached her destination. The account of what happens to her on the way is interspersed with a series of flashbacks in which she tells of her tender but tumultuous relationship with a younger woman
and the effect this had not only on themselves but on others, including her mother, her lover’s parents, and her ex-husband.
The novel bears some of its distinguished author’s hallmarks: an imaginative realism and a haunting undercurrent of doom foreshadowing the affair’s conclusion, that pervades the whole cleverly-structured work. There are comic moments, including a hilarious scene reminiscent of French farce when the provincial, unsuspecting mother of the younger woman turns up unannounced at the lesbian love-nest. The novel also reflects Mulisch’s long-standing interest in the theatre and in the boundary between illusion and reality (a theme to which he returns in Last Call). His wickedly satirical account of a scabrous, homo-erotic play at an Amsterdam drama festival, which forms one of the book’s episodes is not to be missed!

- www.babelguides.com


bookweb from:
Lezen&Cetera, Pieter Steinz
 
BOOKS BY HARRY MULISCH:

The Assault
1982
"WWII novels"
The story of Anton, a boy whose family is killed in reprisal by the Germans after the body of a Dutch Nazi police chief, killed by the Resistance, is dumped on their doorstep.
ON HARRY MULISCH'S BOOKSHELF

The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, 1924
The story of Hans Castorp, a modern everyman who spends seven years in an Alpine sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, finally leaving to become a soldier in World War I.

Fictions
Jorges Luis Borges, 1935/ 1944 / 1949
This is a collection of Borges's fiction, translated and gathered into a single volume. From his 1935 debut with The Universal History of Iniquity, through the influential collections Ficciones and The Aleph, to his final work from the 1980s, Shakespeare Memory.

The Aleph and Other Stories
Jorges Luis Borges, 1949
In stories that play with the very form of the short story, in this collection, Borges returns again and again to his themes: dreams, labyrinths, mirrors, infinite libraries, the manipulations of chance, gaucho knife-fighters, transparent tigers, and the elusive nature of identity itself.

Faust
Johann Wolfgang Goethe, 1808 / 1832
The first part, in particular, of this unpredictable, philosophical tragedy-in-rhyme - about a scientist who sells his soul to the devil - reads like a novel.

Eureka, a prose poem
Edgar Allan Poe, 1848
The creation of the world, its continued existence, and its ultimate end.

Letter to His Father
Franz Kafka, 1919
This is a letter never sent, from Kafka, the tormented son, to his father Hermann.

[De ongelofelijke avonturen van Bram Vingerling]
Leonard Roggeveen, 1927
A 'boy's book' about the amazing adventures of a youthful alchemist.

The Discovery of Heaven
1992
"WWII novels"
On a cold night in Holland, Max Delius picks up Onno Quist, a chaotic philologist who cannot bear the banalities of everyday life. They are like fire and water. But when they learn that they were conceived on the same day, it is clear that something extraordinary is about to happen.
WHAT TO READ AFTER THE DISCOVERY OF HEAVEN?

COMPLEXITIES
Earthly Powers
Anthony Burgess, 1980
About a writer and the man to whom he is linked through family ties, an earthy Italian priest destined to become Pope.

Foucault's Pendulum
Umberto Eco, 1988
A wily group of editors devises a mock formula for tapping the mystical powers of the universe, only to set off a series of mysterious disappearances.

Lemprière's Dictionary
Lawrence Norfolk, 1991
At its center of this novel is John Lemprière, a (real) figure whose 1788 dictionary of mythology insists on springing to gruesome life.

MYTHICAL WRITING
The Sorrow of Belgium
Hugo Claus, 1983
The Sorrow of Belgium centers on early adolescence, Catholicism, and on a boy turning not into a man but into that slightly different beast, a writer.
- Richard Burns (The Independent)

The Flounder
Günter Grass, 1977
First published in 1977, this novel is based on the fairy story 'The Fisherman and His Wife'. Multi-layered and laced with poetry and humour, it analyzes the battle of the sexes.

[De keisnijder van Fichtenwald]
Louis Ferron, 1976
Decline of a hunchback in the Nazi era.

POSTWAR HOLLAND (THE RAGING SIXTIES)
Turkish Delight
Jan Wolkers, 1969
Love in times of free sex and 'Marxist garden gnomes.'

[Onder professoren]
Willem Frederik Hermans, 1975
Backstabbing and social disaster after a chemistry professor wins the Noble Prize.

I, Jan Cremer
Jan Cremer, 1964
The literary autobiography of the writer and artist Jan Cremer, in many respects the Dutch answer to Jack Kerouac.

THE COMPLEAT NOVEL
Gargantua and Pantagruel
François Rabelais, 1532-1553
The classic satirical and ribald tale about the travels of Gargantua and Pantagruel, set in the French countryside.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
Laurence Sterne, 1759-1767
Part novel, part digression, this gloriously disordered narrative interweaves the birth and life of the unfortunate 'hero' Tristram Shandy, the eccentric philosophy of his father Walter, the amours and military obsessions of Uncle Toby, and a host of other characters.

The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky, 1880
Three sons find their violent and vengeful lives exposed when their despicable father is murdered, and each man struggles to come to terms with his guilt over his involvement in the crime.

The Stone Bridal Bed
1959
'WW II novels'
Postwar journey of an American pilot to the Dresden he helped to destroy takes on mythical proportions.
Last Call
1985

The Procedure
1998
Microbiologist (modern-day alchemist) makes his own golem.
Siegfried
2001
What if Hitler had a son? Mulisch mixes philosophical reflection and psychological inquiry into an exploration of the single-minded quest of a Dutch writer determined to understand the source of the German dictator's terrible power.
[Het zwarte licht]
1956
After a traumatic experience, a young man decides to break off his engineering studies to become an artist.
Two Women
1975
Lesbian relationship ends in murder (by doubly-deceived man) of one of the women.
[De versierde mens]
1957
Seven stories in which mythology, fantasy, and reality come together.
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The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht, info@the-ledge.com
Thanks to: De digitale pioniers and
Het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds
Design: Maurits de Bruijn

Copyright: Pieter Steinz, Stacey Knecht
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author.