Character

F. Bordewijk, Author, Ferdinand Bordewijk, Author, E. M. Prince, Translator New Amsterdam Books $17.95 (286p) ISBN 978-0-941533-96-6
This 1938 bildungsroman by a Dutch author brims with old-fashioned values, presenting the world as clearly if not cleanly ordered. Its slow-and-steady narrative follows Jacob Katadreuffe, illegitimate son of a fiercely principled mother and ruthless debt-collector father, from infancy to his adult attainment of ``character.'' Born into humble surroundings and scantily educated, young Katadreuffe applies himself to surmounting ``the awful distance between the ordinary man and the gentleman'' and becoming a lawyer. At every turn his father, A. B . Dreverhaven, unwillingly estranged from mother and son, exacerbates his struggles--attempting to declare him bankrupt (and twice succeeding) and, eventually, to block his admission to the bar. Bordewijk captures the mortal battle between father and son with considerable acumen, but an unexpectedly sentimental and abrupt ending mars his accomplishment. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/30/1998
Release date: 04/01/1998
Genre: Fiction
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