All Souls Day by Cees Nooteboom

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Synopsis

A brilliant new novel-evocative and philosophical, poetic and passionate.

A Dutch documentary filmmaker finds himself in Berlin at the end of the twentieth century, trying to make sense of his own past in a city where every stone bears traces of history. Having lost his wife and child in an airplane crash, he is still coming to terms with the grief, trying to build a new life amid a group of cosmopolitan, splendidly eccentric friends. As he walks the streets of a recently reunified Berlin city, shooting scenes for a film with as yet vague shape, Daane seeks to make a coherent picture of fragments of memory and history. When by chance he meets a mysterious young Dutch-Berber woman named Elik, these rather abstract questions suddenly take on far more concrete shape, and soon Daane follows Elik to Madrid and the novel's stunning denouement.

All Souls Day is both a love story and a reflection on the way history plays with our lives. It is an extraordinary achievement.

 

About Cees Nooteboom

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Born in 1933 in the Hague, Cees Nooteboom is one of Europe's most popular and widely translated writers. He lives in Amsterdam and Minorca, Spain.
 
Published November 5, 2001 by Harcourt. 352 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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There’s very little more in the way of action or incident here than this, as Nooteboom fills the story with Daane’s meditations on photography, history, art, the ideas of eminent philosophers (he has made a film about Nietzsche, and considers Walter Benjamin as a subject), and other matters: gene...

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Publishers Weekly

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Nooteboom's attempt at an intellectual novel is worthy of respect, but Arthur and his friends are frustratingly static in their habits and thoughts, their perorations inflated with hot air.

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