The Garden Where the Brass Band Played by Simon Vestdijk

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Synopsis

The book is a coming-of-age novel, something that in other languages is expressed more pointedly as the novel of education. Nol, "the judge's son,' is the person whose moral sentiments are being educated. But that education is acquired at the expense of an infinitely more valuable person, the young woman Nol loves, who has been exploited by men of weight and standing in their provincial community-all of them human, disgracefully human.
Not tells the story from the time he was five years old, when, inspired by a rendition of one of Souza's marches in the garden where the brass band played, he danced with the conductor's daughter, taller and older than himself, before a bemused assemblage of adults. The web of incident and reflection in Nol's narration astonishes the reader with the texture of the lives it evokes, ending with Nol's small, crucial defection that precipitates tragedy. In The Garden Where the Brass Band Played, as with every real novel of the genre, it is the reader whose sentiments are educated, by the pain of it, and no doubt rather too late.
 

About Simon Vestdijk

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Simon Vestdijk was trained as a physician, but practiced medicine for a short time only and thereafter devoted himself to literature. In the Netherlands he is regarded as one of the great men of letters of this century. He was an immensely prolific novelist, and also wrote a vast number of stories, poems, and essays. The Garden Where the Brass Band Played appears to be set in the period of the late twenties or early thirties, and in a provincial town whose mores bear a surprising resemblance to those of North America at that time.
 
Published April 21, 1998 by New Amsterdam Books. 312 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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This powerful Dutch novel traces a boy's coming of age in the provincial city of ``W.'' (July)

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