Saturday Morning Post, April 20

Written by Jack van Ommen on April 20th, 2013

I promised in my previous blog that I would let you know about Maria Boonzaaijer’s book “Het vreemde meisje”. I finished reading it very late at night, last week. I just could not put it away. Another reader calls it a “page turner”.

The main character, Irana, learns Dutch in Moscow so that she can search for her father in Holland. I recommend you all do the same, learn Dutch, so that you can read this book. Or twist my arm. This is Maria’s second publication, after “Papa Tango” which also is a very good story. But in this book she has made a leap into the pros. Irana is born out of an affair of a Dutch priest visiting Moscow. It is about real people and real places. The ones we have all known and places we have been. Love, deception. isolation, abuse but in the end triumph for the most part. Some passages are outright awesome. For me it was also an extra pleasure that the second main character, Irana’s aunt, grew up in my old neighborhood and her brother chose the priesthood in the Thomas van Aquino church, which is also mentioned in “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”.

Not sure if I ever mentioned that the author, Maria, grew up two blocks from where I grew up. I met her and her husband Stephen on their boat in French Polynesia in 2005. She used to attend the Thomas van Aquino church and had become Dutch Reformed. And I had done the opposite. So we keep the old neighborhood in proper balance.

The work on the boat is progressing. Yesterday I removed the last of the two rub-rails. And after unscrewing hundreds of screws from the deck and removing all the hardware, the dirty job of removing the teak starts tomorrow. This afternoon I am invited to attend a book presentation in Oud Loosdrecht. The book is a series written by Jack Kooistra about the Reprisals here in the Second World War.

I am back at square one trying to find a roof over my head from May 1st. I thought I had place on a power boat in the “Schinkel” but that fell through.

 

 

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