BOOKS / The Independent Foreign Fiction Award: Lovers going Dutch
Saturday 29 January 1994
'I knew that room, because I had slept there 20 years ago with another man's wife . . . She was there for revenge, and for that she needed me. Love is the pastime of the bourgeoisie, I had once said, but of course what I meant was the middle classes. And so now I was in love, and thus a member of the same weak, glutinous fraternity of one-track minded automatons I had always claimed to despise. I tried to convince myself that it was passion we were engaged in, but if that were true in her case the passion was certainly not aimed at me, but at her putty-faced husband: a giant built up from slabs of veal, bald, with a permanently set grin, as if he never stopped passing round the biscuits. A teacher of Dutch - well, if you wanted to draw a cartoon of the type you could take him as your model. Teaching children the language they were already hearing in the echo chamber of the womb, long before they were born, and stunting the natural growth of that language with tedious drivel about ordinal numbers, double plurals, split infinitives and prepositional connectives is bad enough, but to look like an underdone cutlet and pontificate about poetry, that's a bit much. And not only did he lay down the law about poetry, he wrote it too. Every few years he would spawn yet another anaemic assembly of messages from the lukewarm provinces of his soul: toothless lines, strings of words casting aimlessly about on the page. If they ever happened to brush against a single line of Horace they would disintegrate without a trace.'
Arts & Ents blogs
There is a good many moments in the second episode of this psychological thriller that deserve refle...
The opening titles squeal ‘Never Can Say Goodbye…’. Oh Lord how I wish I could heave this series off...
Even though there was a complete absence of our favourite odd couple Brienne and Jaime, we got anoth...
'He was lucky he didn't die' - George Michael fell out of speeding car onto M1 motorway, according to eye witness
This is the end... Keyboard player of The Doors Ray Manzarek dies of cancer aged 74
Coronation Street triumphs over EastEnders at British Soap Awards 2013
School-gate mums: Is 2013's Fifty Shades a novel by Gill Hornby called The Hive?
Arrested Development returns but can the new episodes on Netflix capture the show's deadpan glory days?
- 1 'He was lucky he didn't die' - George Michael fell out of speeding car onto M1 motorway, according to eye witness
- 2 Austerity has hardened the nation's heart
- 3 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 4 Why Arsène Wenger must spend to put icing on the cake and buy likes of Stevan Jovetic for Arsenal
- 5 'It was just like the movie Twister': Man survives Oklahoma tornado by taking refuge in horse stall
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.