The Netherlands: Boredom in Amsterdam

I had my mind set on a certain Dutch book, and I tried to get a copy of it for several months, but could not find it. I then asked my Dutch friend for other suggestions, and ended up reading The Evenings by Gerard Reve. I have to say that I am a bit surprised that there are not that many world famous Dutch authors. I felt the same about Belgium. It is probably a question of language. Maybe there are many great books not translated into the English, I do not know.

I had read many good reviews about The Evenings, and the hype around the book seemed genuine. There were even people stating it is the Dutch Catcher in the Rye. These positive reviews might be the reason I was let down by this book. It is not a bad one; it just did not give me the thrill I expected. I honestly hate when this happens.

The reader gets to follow 23-year-old Frits for ten days in 1946. It is post-war times and normal lives are slowly becoming the norm. Frits has a boring daytime job, and it is as if he does not exist. He does not complain about it. The problem with his life is that during the evenings, and his time off work in general, his life is empty. He needs to find a way to fill this emptiness.

Frits lives with his parents, and they seem to be the most boring people on the planet. At home, his only savior is the radio. The book takes place on a few suburban streets in Amsterdam. This is the life of Frits, a man with a boring job, but he is not looking for a new job. A man without a girlfriend, but he is not looking for a girlfriend.

I can understand that many enjoy this book. It is like time is standing still, the book reflects the time period in history, and people are happy with the war being over, while looking for their identity and place in the society. I did not connect with the characters in the book, and sadly, once I had finished reading it, it immediately disappeared from my mind.

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