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Godenslaap by Erwin Mortier

Godenslaap (original 2008; edition 2010)

by Erwin Mortier

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4022126,569 (3.79)28
Authors:Erwin Mortier
Info:Amsterdam De Bezige Bij 2010
Collections:Your library
Tags:eerste wereldoorlog, familierelaties

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While the Gods Were Sleeping by Erwin Mortier (2008)



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Dutch (17)  English (4)  All (21)
Showing 4 of 4
This work is and isn’t about World War I. Helena, writing journal after journal as an elderly woman cared for by one harsh homecare nurse and one loving homecare nurse, first shows readers what her life has become. Then we see how life was before the war…comfortable, pleasant, and in many ways a mirror image of the nurturing kindness the elderly Helena receives from the kind caregiver.
Not until long into the book does Helena finally turn to the wartime events. This is in part because the visitation of the fighting on her country was so terrible, she has difficulty coming to terms with it even at this late date. But she is driven to do so…not because she believes the journals will leave some lasting legacy; in fact, she tells the caretaker to distribute them at whim, and shows herself to be as unattached to them as falling leaves in the wind.
Really, she is writing for herself. She needs to retrieve from the mud that swallowed so many men dead and alive some understanding of what this monster was and how it changed her and her country. The sweep is epic yet is told from such a close and intimate understanding of one woman’s life that readers cannot help but feel the horror Helena had as a witness.
Then, at the end, we see that Helena’s words have had a broader impact beyond her life. The simple words of her caregiver, relaying her own family’s story of loss, resonates in a few brief pages with everything Helena has needed hundreds of pages to convey through her own efforts.
What shining beauty is in her words.
I was given an ARC (digital) by the publisher to review.
( )
  Laine-Cunningham | Feb 22, 2015 |
An award-winning book by a Belgian (Flemish) writer and rightly so. The language is very, very rich and the style is awesome. ( )
  MGovers | Jun 13, 2012 |
This book is about the First World War in Belgium, told by an old woman. She tells about the split in her family, because her father stays in Belgium as the rest of the familiy flies to France. Her brother becomes a soldier. She finds a boy friend who is an English war photographer.
The story is well told, but doesn't seam to head anywhere and the style is somehow difficult. I might enjoy it more a moment when I have more time and patience.

http://boekenwijs.blogspot.com/2010/10/godenslaap.html ( )
  boekenwijs | Oct 29, 2010 |
Mortier kan het prachtig zeggen maar er valt helaas niet veel te vertellen in dit boek. ( )
  HendrikSteyaert | Oct 26, 2010 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Erwin Mortierprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kuby, ChristianeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ik heb altijd gehuiverd voor de daad van het beginnen.
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