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The Garden Where the Brass Band Played by…

The Garden Where the Brass Band Played (1950)

by Simon Vestdijk

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242447,619 (3.47)26



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Dutch (2)  English (1)  German (1)  All (4)
This book is on the 1001 list, and has been described as a "coming of age" novel. While the protagonist, Nol, who is the son of a prominent judge in a provincial city near the Dutch/German border, does "come of age" over the course of the novel, I would not place the book in that genre. Instead, it seems to me to be a tale of obsessive and ultimately failed love.

It begins when Trix, the 12 year old daughter of an alcoholic musician dances with 8 year old Nol at a concert conducted by her father. For years, Nol observes Trix from a distance, and defends the musician from the accusations of incompetence and drunkeness made against him. He persuades his parents to allow him to take piano lessons from Trix's father. Although he falls in love with Trix, Nol's love for Trix's father seems paramount.

All three main characters, Nol, Trix, and her father, are deeply flawed individuals, and none of them can be described as likeable. Nol is deceitful, and sometimes superior and disdainful of others. Trix is abrupt, aloof, and rude. Her father is self-absorbed, irresponsible, and, yes, a drunkard. For the most part, the book is serious, but there is a sustained comedic episode when there is an attempt to stage an opera directed by Trix's father with a prominent opera star in the lead. And, music plays a very prominent role in the book, and there are pages of discussions and somewhat technical descriptions of various musical pieces.

I enjoyed this book, and never really stal.led in it, but I also never really eagerly anticipated picking it up for the next session's reading. I would ultimately rate this as a very good book, but not one that I personally loved ( )
2 vote arubabookwoman | Jun 18, 2011 |
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Voor Helena S.E. Burgers
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Het eerste wat ik mij van W... herinner, waar even na mijn vijfde verjaardag mijn vader tot rechter was benoemd, is de warme voorzomermiddag, toen de bal van mijn broer over de ijzeren krullen van het balconhek vloog, de verlaten huiskamer in.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0704301733, Paperback)

This is a coming-of-age novel, something that in other languages is expressed more pointedly as the novel of education.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:00 -0400)

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