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De kroongetuige (1983)

by Maarten 't Hart

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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330469,846 (3.52)2
Enttäuschte Liebe und verzweifelte Eifersucht, Kinderlosigkeit und eine heimliche Kronzeugin. Und immer wieder die schwarzen Vögel. Ein atemberaubender Roman. Ein spannender Krimi und zugleich die Geschichte einer Ehe. Schauplatz sind die Niederlande der frühen achtziger Jahre.
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» See also 2 mentions

Dutch (3)  English (1)  All languages (4)
Whilst Leonie is away consulting gynaecologists about her infertility, her husband Thomas seizes the opportunity to go out on a couple of illicit dates with the glamorous library assistant (sorry, that's a tautology, isn't it...) Jenny. But Jenny fails to return to her room after their last evening out, and when the police start to investigate her disappearance, it's Thomas who is soon at the centre of their enquiries.

Up to this point, the book is a first-person narrative by Thomas, and it looks as though we are in for another of those middle-aged-professor adultery novels that novelists seem to enjoy so much more than their readers do, but then he's arrested and we switch to Leonie's point-of-view, and it all suddenly becomes much more interesting and unpredictable as she decides to find out for herself what has really happened to Jenny, whose body hasn't yet been found. The police have their own grotesque theories about all the ways a pharmacologist with out-of-hours access to the lab could dispose of a body, but Leonie is convinced that Jenny has disappeared for reasons of her own, and is still alive somewhere. However, what she discovers turns out to be rather disturbing...

This is a nice, tight crime story, very much in the dark Patricia Highsmith tradition — 't Hart drops in a mention of Highsmith to acknowledge this, but we could have worked it out for ourselves from all the creepy-crawlies and significant birds that pop up in the text for no immediately obvious reason. Including the obligatory slugs and snails, of course, but also plenty of spiders. The real charm of the book is in the way we are made to revise our view of Leonie, from the grey-mouse character that she is in Thomas's account, defined purely by her frustration at not being able to have children, into a self-confident independent actor who is able to argue with the arrogant (Popper-reading!) policeman Lambert.

One thing that has aged rather is 't Hart's satirical treatment of the Women's Movement — Jenny's feminist friends are determined to make her a posthumous figurehead of their campaign against male violence, and they angrily attack Leonie for pursuing the idea that Jenny is neither dead nor a victim. ( )
  thorold | Nov 29, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hart, Maarten 'tprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holberg, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Grote ABC (437)
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'Vertel mij eens', zei Jenny,' want jij met jouw opleiding moet het weten: wat is het leven?' EEN TIJDELIJK OPONTHOUD VAN EEN ZONNESTRAAL ONDERWEG NAAR HET HEELAL,' zeik ik
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In onze achtertuin zocht ik mijn zoon. Naaktslakken trokken glinsterende slijmsporen over het kleine terras. Onder el stuk hout dat ik optilde, krioelden hardpaarse pissebedden. Uit de esdoorn lieten Zwarte Weduwen zich aan één draad zakken. Maar waar was mijn zoon? Natuurlijk, het was een kind van Leonie, ik moest hem daar zoeken waar hij de wolken kon zien. Snel waadde ik naar de schutting aan het einde van de tuin. Zijn stem hoorde ik al: 'Vader, wat doen mensen het liefst?' en ik antwoordde: ''bij mekaar op stoelen zitten keuvelen,' maar nog steeds zag ik hem niet. In de schutting zwiepte de vermolmde deur in haar hengsels. Daarachter baadde het steegje met de glasscherven in het maanlicht. Toen ik erdoor wandelde, bogen de bomen die zich aan de andere zijde bevonden, hun takken naar mij omlaag zodat ik bijna de vruchten - waren het appels? - kon grijpen. p 28-29
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Enttäuschte Liebe und verzweifelte Eifersucht, Kinderlosigkeit und eine heimliche Kronzeugin. Und immer wieder die schwarzen Vögel. Ein atemberaubender Roman. Ein spannender Krimi und zugleich die Geschichte einer Ehe. Schauplatz sind die Niederlande der frühen achtziger Jahre.

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Average: (3.52)
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