Magazine article World Literature Today

Einum

Magazine article World Literature Today

Einum

Article excerpt

Fiction Froon Akker (pseudonym for Koos Tiemersma). Einum. Ljouwert, Netherlands. Elikser Uitgeverij. 2015. 311 pages.

In 2010 Koos Tiemersma intimated that Under Water would be his last published novel. Fortunately, and to the delight of his appreciative readers, he changed his mind. Each of his novels has been distinctively different from the previous one, and Einum follows the pattern. In fact, it is more a collection of stories than a traditional novel, though all eighteen stories interconnect through place and persons. Remarkably, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

The reader enters a nearly forgotten and mostly disregarded dump of a town, Einum, its neglected old dwellings ready to be razed. But by the time the reader exits and closes the book, the dilapidated neighborhood with its motley assortment of residents has memorably entered the mind and imagination as if the scenes and events had been projected on a screen. Here we have not just the life of a family but of eighteen individuals, connected closely or remotely but memorably rendered.

None of the main characters is forgettable. Not Walburg, the old widowed farmer who's been deprived of sex too long and savors the chance to satisfy his lust. Not Lidy, the greedy conniver who offers sex to Walburg as a means of gaining his property. Not Casper, the pedophile who's trying to escape his past and finally succeeds through suicide. Not Jente, the teenage birder who discovers the North American thrush that winged its way across lands and ocean all the way from Newfoundland to Einum, an event that suddenly thrusts forsaken Einum into the glaring spotlight of fellow birders and the media. …

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