The Evenings

Gerard Reve, trans. from the Dutch by Sam Garrett. Pushkin, $22 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78227-178-9
Frits van Egters, “the hero of this story,” spends the last 10 evenings of 1946 wandering the streets of Amsterdam, contemplating the more humorous and existential parts of his life, in the first English translation of a work by one of the most lauded post-war Dutch authors. Frits lives with his aging parents, whom he is growing to dislike more and more with each moment he spends listening to the radio with them, trying to engage them in conversation. He decides to take walks in order to sleep more soundly at night. On his strolls, he visits his friends and his older brother, and readers come to learn that Frits almost entirely lacks social skills—though in a somehow endearing manner. While visiting friends, he obsesses over the amount of time he spends with them in a meticulous manner, attempting to control even his littlest thoughts and actions. His inquisitive nature and his fantastic memory make Frits a lovable character. Reve, much like Robert Walser, is able to take the mundane parts of daily life and elevate them into something fascinating, hilarious, and page-turning. The publication of this novel marks the exciting introduction of a wonderful writer to an Anglophone audience. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/23/2017
Release date: 01/31/2017
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