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Articles tagged "Netherlands"

Dummy Run

He liked his supper at six. To come home from the office, briefly look at the newspaper and then find his meal on the table, that was the way he liked it. When they were just married, Margaret had fitted in with that routine. She had never known anything different in fact; her parents had done it just the same. But a few years ago her attitude had changed. Often it would be seven o'clock, half past seven or as late as eight. Sometimes she wasn't even in when he came home from work....

“Arnold . . . !”

She's wondering how to tell his children when an immense silence numbs her. It's as if her thoughts can no longer be captured in words, as if words are refusing service. The briefcase sits in the hallway, in the exact same spot where it used to be left every day around 7 PM. She looks at it: the attaché case of a medical representative. She and the boys had been in fits of laughter when he turned up with the thing: leather, with copper finishing and a secret combination...

from “Comfort”

A two-star colleague had helped me import a rye from a small French village with the rather apt name of Pont-Saint-Esprit. Because opium had been banned under the Opium Act in 1928 and no other hard drugs were available from the wholesalers, enthusiasts are forced to find devious ways of getting hold of their stimulants. In previous centuries practically everybody got a regular and considerable dose of mind expansion because practically everybody ate rye bread. Sometimes, rye hosts a...

from “May the Sun Shine Tomorrow”

1 Malik Ben weighed 300 pounds on the day he decided to have his name removed from the Yellow Pages. Lugging all that weight around day after day had gotten to be a chore, which is what prompted his second resolution: to go on a diet. Malik had dark features. Black hair, which took on a reddish sheen-a kind of auburn he rather liked-whenever he spent too much time in the sun. Brown eyes, the same shade of brown as in the paintings of the old Dutch masters. Pupils that sometimes glowed...

Freedom Can Be a Nightmare: An Interview with Kader Abdolah

This interview was originally published August 12, 1995, in NRC Handelsblad. A unique phenomenon in Dutch literature: Kader Abdolah, a political refugee from Iran who writes little gems of stories—in Dutch. It took him only five years to master the language. How did he do it? And what keeps him going? Kader Abdolah talks about his "terrible youth" in Iran, the struggle against the Shah and Khomeini, and about the exile's dilemma. "The Dutch language is overflowing the banks of...

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