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The Quest for his Dreamland. Jeroen Brouwers' East Indies Triptych
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The Quest for his Dreamland. Jeroen Brouwers' East Indies Triptych

(Jaap Goedegebuure) The Low Countries - 1996, № 4, pp. 97-108

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The Dutch writer Jeroen Brouwers (1940-) spent only seven years in various parts of the Indonesian archipelago which broke away from the Netherlands in 1945. He has never been back since 1948, the year in which his parents decided to return to their own country. During that half-century his tropical birthplace has undergone a metamorphosis into a dreamland. Even so, it would be 1979 before the East Indies of his dreams would rise up out of the mist of his memories and take shape in Brouwers' work. A writer, Brouwers seems to be suggesting, can do nothing but look back. The underworld of his past, no matter how heavenly it may seem in dreams and memories, pulls him down again and again. Jeroen Brouwers' vision, a personal variation on an age-old theme, justifies the intense retrospection and cumulative nature of a style which is all his own. (with a translated extract from ‘The Flood' by Jeroen Brouwers).

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