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Kort Amerikaans by Jan Wolkers
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Kort Amerikaans (1962)

by Jan Wolkers

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Dutch (6)  English (1)  All (7)
Particularly in the Netherlands, Jan Wolkers is named as one of "The Great Three" authors, meaning Jan Wolkers, Harry Mulisch and Gerard Reve. They were all similar in age, and wit their novels dominated the literary scene in the Netherlands for nearly six decades. Many of their novels are inspired by the Second World War.

Kort Amerikaans (1962) is Jan Wolkers's first novel, although he had published some short stories and a play before that. The title of the novel refers to the hair cut of American soldiers, known as the "crew cut".

Jan Wolkers originally trained as a painter, but is mostly known for his writing. A striking feature of his writing are unablushed references to sexuality, and Wolkers can be easily described as the Dutch Henry Miller. The erotic element in his work was emphasised by the filming of many of his novels featuring the Dutch actress Monique van de Ven, who appeared in the filming of several of Wolkers's novels in the 70s besides filming of novels of Mulisch and Reve during the same period. Written in the 1960s - 70s and filmed during those same years, many of these movies are very explicit about sexuality.

Kort Amerikaans is set in the final year of the Second World War. As the war had upset regular life, twisting human relations into secrecy, suspicion and hiding, various characters' love and sexual lives are twisted and hampered in a similar fashion. The frustration of daily life is echoed in sexual frustration. Not only can Eric not find nude models, for his painting, he also cannot achieve the sexual act. The threads connecting Eric to various characters in the novel are often snapped. Love and death and entwined in various morbid ways. The novel features various peculiar characters, charicatures of Dutch people. The main character's name "Van Poelgeest" suggests dark, murky waters. Thus, in the final pages, as the Eric knows light will penetrate his dark secret, he embraces freedom by welcoming death. ( )
  edwinbcn | Feb 11, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jan Wolkersprimary authorall editionscalculated
Matena, DickIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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