Secretly Inside

Hans Warren, Author, S. J. Leinbach, Translator, Jolanda Vanderwal Taylor, Introduction by University of Wisconsin Press $16.95 (99p) ISBN 978-0-299-20980-3
Themes of homoeroticism and class tension distinguish this story of a Jewish student's eerie, brief stay with a Dutch farming family during the Nazi occupation. Published in Dutch in 1975, this first English translation of Warren's well-crafted, slender tale centers on Eduard van Wyngen (Ed), a 25-year-old well-educated, cosmopolitan Jew from Utrecht, who finds refuge at the rural safe house of the Van 't Westeinde family, an inbred clan who seem welcoming but slightly sinister. Warren evokes Ed's alienation from these crisply etched country folk: Mr. Van 't Westeinde, with his ""ravaged and sensuous...almost criminal"" face, Mrs. Van 't Westeinde, the shrewish mother, 22-year-old Camiel, Ed's disturbed, furtive roommate, and Mariete, Camiel's vain older sister. A tortured physical attraction sparks between the two young men, while Mariete alternates hostility with unwelcome sexual overtures towards Ed. Secrets simmer in the treacherous house, and both Camiel and Mariete, mistrustful of their own natures, warn Ed to leave before he is betrayed from the inside. Skillfully wrought, this small, significant work possesses brooding psychological nuance.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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