Reve, Gerard The Evenings: A Winter's Tale

ISBN 13: 9781782271789

The Evenings: A Winter's Tale

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9781782271789: The Evenings: A Winter's Tale
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THE FIRST ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF A POSTWAR MASTERPIECE

'I work in an office. I take cards out of a file. Once I have taken them out, I put them back in again. That is it.'


Twenty-three-year-old Frits - office worker, daydreamer, teller of inappropriate jokes - finds life absurd and inexplicable. He lives with his parents, who drive him mad. He has terrible, disturbing dreams of death and destruction. Sometimes he talks to a toy rabbit.

This is the story of ten evenings in Frits's life at the end of December, as he drinks, smokes, sees friends, aimlessly wanders the gloomy city street and tries to make sense of the minutes, hours and days that stretch before him.

Darkly funny and mesmerising, The Evenings takes the tiny, quotidian triumphs and heartbreaks of our everyday lives and turns them into a work of brilliant wit and profound beauty.

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About the Author:

Gerard Reve (1923-2006) is considered one of the greatest post-war Dutch authors, and was also the first openly gay writer in the country's history. A complicated and controversial character, Reve is also hugely popular and critically acclaimed- his 1947 debut The Evenings was chosen as one of the nation's 10 favourite books by the readers of a leading Dutch newspaper while the Society of Dutch Literature ranked it as the Netherlands' best novel of all time.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

I
It was still dark , in the early morning hours of the
twenty-second of December 1946, on the second floor of
the house at Schilderskade 66 in our town, when the hero of
this story, Frits van Egters, awoke. He looked at the luminous
dial of his watch, hanging on its nail. “A quarter to six,” he
mumbled, “it’s still night.” He rubbed his face. “What a horrible
dream,” he thought. “What was it again?” Gradually it came
back to him. He had dreamt that the living room was full of
visitors. “It’s going to be a glorious weekend,” someone said.
At that same moment a man in a bowler hat walked in. No
one paid him any heed and no one greeted him, but Frits eyed
him closely. Suddenly the visitor fell to the floor with a thud.
“Was that it?” he thought. “What happened after that?
Nothing, I believe.” He fell asleep again. The dream went on
where it had stopped. His bowler pressed down over his face,
the man was now lying in a black coffin that had been placed on
a low table in one corner of the room. “I don’t recognize that
table,” Frits thought. “Did we borrow it from someone?” Then,
peering into the coffin, he said loudly: “We’ll be stuck with this
till Monday, in any event.” “I wouldn’t be so sure about that,”
said a bald, red-faced man with spectacles. “Would you care to
wager that I can arrange the funeral for this afternoon at two?”
Frits awoke once more. It was twenty minutes past six. “I’ve
had enough sleep,” he said to himself, “that’s why I woke up so
early. I still have more than an hour to go.”
He dozed off eventually, and entered the living room for
the third time. There was no one there. He walked over to the
coffin, looked into it and thought: “He’s dead, and starting to
rot.” Suddenly the cadaver was covered in all kinds of carpenter’s
tools, piled to the coffin’s rim: hammers, drills, saws, spirit
levels, planes, pliers and little bags of nails. All that stuck out
was the dead man’s right hand.
“There’s no one here,” he thought, “not a soul in the house;
what am I going to do? Music, that always helps.” He leaned
across the coffin to turn on the radio, but at that same moment
saw the hand, bluish now and with long white nails, begin to stir.
He recoiled in fear. “I mustn’t move,” he thought, “otherwise
it will happen.” The hand sank back down.
Later he awoke, feeling anxious. “Ten to seven,” he mumbled,
peering at the watch. “I always have such horrible dreams.” He
rolled over and fell asleep again.
Parting a pair of thick green curtains, he entered the living
room. The visitors had returned. The man with the red face
came up to him, smiled and said: “It didn’t work out. It will
have to be Monday morning, at ten. We can put the box in the
study till then.” “Study?” Frits thought. “What study? Do we
have a study? He means the side room, of course.” Six men
lifted the coffin to their shoulders. He himself walked out in
front, to open the door for them. “The key’s still in the lock,”
he thought, “good thing, too.”
The coffin was extremely heavy; the bearers moved slowly,
with measured strides. Suddenly he saw that the bottom of the
box was beginning to sag and swell. “It’s going to burst,” he
thought, “that’s hideous. The corpse is still intact on the outside,
but inside it’s a thin, yellow mush. It will splatter all over the floor.”
By the time they were halfway down the hall, the bottom
was sagging so badly that it had begun to crack. Slowly, out of
that crack, appeared the same hand from which he had recoiled.
Gradually the whole arm followed. The fingers groped about,
then crept towards the throat of one of the bearers. “If I scream,
the whole thing will fall to the floor,” Frits thought. He watched
as the bottom sagged further and further and the hand drew
closer and closer to the bearer’s throat. “There’s nothing I can
do,” he thought. “I can’t do a thing.”
He awakened for the fourth time, and sat up in bed. It was
seven thirty-five. The bedroom was cold. He sat there for five
minutes, then stood up and, turning on the light, saw the windowpanes
covered in flowers of frost. He shivered as he made
his way to the toilet.
“I should start going out for a little walk in the evening, before
bed,” he thought while washing himself at the kitchen sink. “It
would make me sleep more soundly.” The soap slipped through
his fingers, and he spent quite some time feeling around for it in
the shadowy space beneath the counter. “We’re off to a roaring
start,” he mumbled.
“But today’s Sunday,” he realized suddenly, “what a piece
of luck.” Then he added to himself: “I’m up far too early, how
stupid of me. But no, for once my day won’t be ruined by lying
around till eleven.” While drying his face he started to hum,
then went into his room, dressed, and combed his hair in the
little mirror that hung beside the door, above one corner of the
bed. “It’s ridiculously early,” he thought. “I can’t go in yet. The
sliding doors are still open.”
He sat down at his little desk, picked up a white marble rabbit
about the size of a matchbox and tapped it softly against the
arm of the chair. Then he put it on top of the pile of papers
from whence it came. Standing up with a shiver, he returned to
the kitchen, opened the bread bin and took out two soft white
rolls, the first of which he stuffed into his mouth in a few bites.
The second he held clenched in his teeth as he went into the
hallway for his coat.
“A brisk, invigorating walk in the morning air,” he murmured.
As he crossed the landing and passed the downstairs neighbours’
door, a dog yapped. He pulled the street door closed behind him
quietly and followed the frozen canal to the river, which was
covered along both banks with a dark layer of ice. There was
not much wind. The sun had barely risen, but the street lights
were already out. The gutters of the houses were lined with rows
of gulls. After kneading the last of his roll into a little ball, he
tossed it onto the ice and scores of birds descended. The first
gull that picked at it missed. The piece of bread slid, fell into a
little hole in the ice and sank before another bird could peck at it.
Church bells rang once. “An early start, this will be a day
well spent,” he thought, turning right along the riverbank. “It’s
cold and early and no one’s out yet, but I am.”

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9781782273011: The Evenings: A Winter's Tale

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ISBN 10:  1782273018 ISBN 13:  9781782273011
Publisher: Pushkin Press, 2018
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Book Description PUSHKIN PRESS, United Kingdom, 2017. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 'I work in an office. I take cards out of a file. Once I have taken them out, I put them back in again. That is it.' Twenty-three-year-old Frits - office worker, daydreamer, teller of inappropriate jokes - finds life absurd and inexplicable. He lives with his parents, who drive him mad. He has terrible, disturbing dreams of death and destruction. Sometimes he talks to a toy rabbit. This is the story of ten evenings in Frits's life at the end of December, as he drinks, smokes, sees friends, aimlessly wanders the gloomy city streets and tries to make sense of the minutes, hours and days that stretch before him. Darkly funny and mesmerising, The Evenings takes the tiny, quotidian triumphs and heartbreaks of our everyday lives and turns them into a work of brilliant wit and profound beauty."The funniest, most exhilarating novel about boredom ever written. If The Evenings had appeared in English in the 1950s, it would have become every bit as much a classic asOn the Road and The Catcher in the Rye." Herman Koch, author of The Dinner"Unlike John Williams, Gerard Reve's work was critically acclaimed and sold exceptionally well during his lifetime. But, just like Stoner, The Evenings is brilliantly written, and has a maximum impact on the reader's soul." Oscar van Gelderen, the Dutch publisher who rediscovered John Williams's Stoner"Very funny and strange. Reve is a writer who may yet 'catch on' in the Anglophone world" Lydia Davis, winner of the Man Booker International PrizeGerard Reve (1923-2006) is considered one of the greatest post-war Dutch authors, and was also the first openly gay writer in the country's history. A complicated and controversial character, Reve is also hugely popular and critically acclaimed- his 1947 debut The Evenings was chosen as one of the nation's 10 favourite books by the readers of a leading Dutch newspaper while the Society of Dutch Literature ranked it as the Netherlands' best novel of all time. Seller Inventory # AAZ9781782271789

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