Saturday 28 April 2012

Amsterdam Stories

Finished April 26
Amsterdam Stories by Nescio, selected and translated by Damion Searls

This is the first English translation of these works. Nescio (the pen name of Jan Hendrik Frederick Grönlöh (1882 - 1961)) was not prolific nor very successful until later in his writing career, but his work is now considered by some to be the best prose ever written in the Dutch language. Nescio is Latin for "I don't know."
I picked up an early copy of this collection and found it very interesting. The stories appear in chronological order of when they were written (not published) and range from 1909 to 1942. They include his major works and a selection of shorter stories, all in one slim volume.
The stories are reminiscent of youth, some of them written of the time of struggle to find one's way, and some looking back on that time. They have a flavour of loss and regret and yet are not emotional. The characters seem to be in their own world, removed from the events in the world around them.


  1. This is another one for the European Reading Challenge:

  2. Thanks for including your review on the European Reading Challenge! I like learning about authors I haven't come across before.