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Man in de verte by Otto De Kat

Man in de verte (original 1998; edition 1998)

by Otto De Kat

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162615,960 (3.5)1
Title:Man in de verte
Authors:Otto De Kat
Info:Amsterdam Van Oorschot 1998
Collections:Your library
Tags:Literatuur, Nederlandse lit.

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The Figure in the Distance (Panther) by Otto de Kat (1998)



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I got something out of this book. This is Otto de Kat’s first novel. It could be autobiographical, but it is written in the third person. The main character is “The Narrator.” Some of the scenes are beautifully worded. The best one describes the narrator, his father and brother skating single file along a frozen river. I could almost see the three of them "effortlessly skating, bent over and silent, the stationary banks whizzing by, their hands behind their backs; their long, rhythmical strokes so much in unison that the narrator could easily have reached out and placed his hand on his father's hand." The narrator loved his father and missed him terribly after his father died.

De Kat’s book reads like psychological train-of-thought where, among other things the narrator reveals "an almost imperceptible desire to cling to his father." He gradually realized that "his desire to become lost in somebody else was becoming relentless; a form of immaturity . . . nothing the narrator believed in suited him." This book is not a cheerful book. When de Kat touches on religion, I could see that he does not believe. The narrator states that: "Religion tries to lull us to sleep, science tries to keep us awake and art has gone completely off the rails." To the narrator, prayers were like "empty incantations of a rainmaker. They were nothing but words reaching into the dark: 'Father, I am here, where are you?'

I felt sorry for the narrator’s sadness and emptiness, with his "relentless drive to become lost in somebody else like a wounded soul who longs for immortality, his longing for union with his departed father, for somebody to cling to like coral to a reef, who felt nothing he believed suited him." He remembered how upset his father became "over the idea that the rich young man who had been so keen to follow Jesus should have been sent away, sorrowful, told to sell everything he possessed." I think that helped pushed the narrator deeper into depression. Actually, the rich young man was told to sell what he possessed and then come with Jesus.

I wonder, if the narrator knew what Jesus had really said to the young man,--would the narrator have been willing to leave his terrible emptiness and follow Jesus? ( )
  MauriceAWilliams | Dec 23, 2014 |
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