J. J. Hermsen (1961) is a Dutch writer and philosopher, who studied art & philosophy in Paris and now lives and works in Amsterdam.
She has published five novels, Het dameoffer (1998), the story of a daughter looking for her lost parents, Tweeduister (2001), a historical novel on the Bloomsburygroup, (Virginia Woolf and Vivienne & T.S. Eliot), De profielschets (2004), a campus novel and satire on academic philosophical life and De liefde dus (2008), a novel on the 18th century writer and philosopher Belle van Zuylen (Mme de Charrière).
She has also published several collections of essays on contemporary philosophy (Sarah Kofman, Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson, Maurice Blanchot, Hannah Arendt a.o.), modern art & literature. Among her international publications there is a book on Hannah Arendt, The Judge & the Spectator. Hannah Arendts Political Philosophy (Peeters, 1999), which she edited together with Dana Vila, and Sharing the difference. (Routledge 1992), which she edited together with Alkeline van Lenning.
Also, her second novel Tweeduister, has been translated into German, under the title Die Gärten of Bloomsbury (Luebbe Verlag 2004).
Tme is Hope, a selection of essays on time
Author of fiction & non-fiction, Arbeiderspers
J.J. Hermsen (1961) Author of fiction & non-fiction, Arbeiderspers, lives in Amsterdam.
PHD in Philosophy and Literature (1993) with Julia Kristeva in Paris and Rosi Braidotti in
Last two novels So it’s love (2008) and Blindgangers (2012) nominated for both Libris,
Opzij and Akoliterature prize; together 50.000 copies sold.
Last two essays Stil de tijd (2009) and Kairos. A New Engagement (2014)
both nominated for shortlist Socrates – Best Philosophy Book of the Year prize.
Stil de tijd rewarded with Jan Hanlo Essay prize (2010).
Stil de tijd sold 70.000 copies and Kairos 25.000 so far.
Author speaks fluently german, french and english.
Author is a a much invited speaker on symposia about philosophy, art & society.
Some press quotes about her work.
Kairos: ‘Briliant essays’, Vrij Nederland 2014
Stil de tijd: ‘Beautiful and important essays’, NRC 2009
So it’s love: ‘Excellent and intelligent’, Financiele Dagblad 2008
Blindgangers: ‘Heartbreaking, sharp and moving’ , De Morgen 2012
Some documentaries, TV programmes & booktrailers about her work:
- Brands met Boeken VPRO TV on Kairos
- Brands met Boeken VPRO TV over Stil de tijd
- Stil de tijd part 1
- Stil de tijd part 2
- RABO lecture 2015 on Time
- So it’s love , part 2
- Kairos. Radboud University 2014
- NTR TV portrait 2013
Joke J. Hermsen
Joke J. Hermsen (February 2014) Karos. A New Engagement
Philosophical essays about hope, inspiration & empathy.
read fragment here
In Time on our side, Hermsen named the states silence, rest, slowness and ennui the necessary and appropriate conditions for creativity, clear sight and understanding. The book was an immediate success and has been reprinted 22nd times. In her new book, which will probably be called in English A New Engagement or Wishful Thinking (february 2014), she makes a passionate plea for a new kind of engagement, which can inspire us for new ways of ‘wishful thinking’ that will help us to find our way out of the economical and ecological crisis. Referring to the philosophical works of Hannah Arendt, Tomas Sedlacek and Ernst Bloch, she makes clear that the human condition is one the one hand characterized by 'initium', that we are and should be ‘beginners’ of new initiatives, and by empathy on the other. After decades of nihilism and cynicism, time has come for the homo economicus to become a homo empathicus who embraces engagement, enthousiasm and inspiration to be his or her leading principles. She demonstrates several ways of ‘wishful thinking’ in philosophy, like the principle of hope (Ernst Bloch) and the principle of natality (Hannah Arendt), and describes creative initiatives in local economics, metamodernist art and cooperative ecology networks.
Kairos, Poetry & Time: Immortal Moments of Truth
opening speech of the academic year of Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands.
Kairos. A new Engagement
J.J. Hermsen (1961) is an author and philosopher. She debuted in 1998 with the novel Het dameoffer (A lady’s sacrifice), which was soon followed by the novels Tweeduister (Smokefall), an historical novel about the two writing marriages Vivien & Tom Eliot and Virginia & Leonard Woolf, De profielschets (En profil) and De liefde dus (So It’s Love), also an historical novel about Mme de Charriere, Mme de Stael, Cagliostro and Benjamin Constant, which was extraordinary well received by the press and nominated for the Libris Prize in 2009.
Her latest novel Blindgangers (2012), a society satire, has also been nominated for this prestigious price.
She is also the author of the essay collection Heimwee naar de mens (Nostalgia for mankind), which was shortlisted for the best philosophical work in 2003.
In 2008, her entire oeuvre was awarded with the Halewijn literature price.
In 2010 she published a philosophical essay on soulfulness, Windstilte van de ziel, (Calmness of the soul) which sold 45.000 copies.
In 2012 her essay on time 'Stil de tijd' (Time on our side) was awarded with the Jan Hanlo Best Essay Book of the Year and sold more then 50.000 copies.
|Time on our side. Manifesto for a Slow Future
read fragment here
Press about Time on our side:
'A well-considered and stimulating collection of essays. Hermsen gives a crystal clear demonstration of how boredom and slowness can awaken creativity.' De Morgen
'Well-wrought and highly readable' De Volkskrant, ***** (five stars)
Preface Time on our side
The Place that Time Forgot
When I woke up this morning - it was about eight o'clock and, save for the birds twittering in the fruit trees, virtually silent - I had to rack my brains to figure out whether it was Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
It mattered, because I was expecting guests from Holland on Thursday, which involved shopping and getting
the spare room ready. I frantically tried to open an imaginary calendar in my mind
in which I might find today's date. I had left my diary at home because who needs it during a long summer in the French countryside? And so I had to recover both day and date from memory, something that I think nothing of in the city. But no matter how hard I tried to tell the past couple of days apart and thereby introduce some structure to time and arrive at the right date, I could not work it out and saw only blank, undated pages before me. After barely a week in the middle of nowhere I had lost my sense of time. The impression that I was coasting in time, drifting toward an uncertain future without any beacons or solid ground, confused me. But a moment later this apprehension made way for resignation, relief even. Here, in this languid valley wedged between two rivers, surrounded by the forests, fields and vineyards
of the Bergerac, we live by different rules and a time other than that of the punctuality and busy schedules of the home front.
Over the past few years, this difference in time and in the experience of time has been the subject of several essays of mine, which I am rewriting during this summer in the French countryside. While the temperature reaches unprecedented heights and time appears to retreat just that little bit further every day, I reread everything that I have written on this complex but fascinating topic. This secluded place is perfect for the job because I have tried to trace another, less common experience of time and to convey the repercussions and richness of this other time. Our hectic life in the city gets in the way of our ability to distinguish between what, in this book, I call 'clock time', with its universal rules and rigid divisions, and this other time, which flows beneath our clocks so to speak, calmly and imperturbably, and which appears to touch on a more personal, more internal time.
The time of clocks and diaries is an abstract and social time, something we established in order to organize the world, manage international transport, do business. As soon as you disembark from this world, like I did a week ago by travelling here, you disembark from this time and enter another. A time without dates and hours, only different gradations of light: from the delicate morning light to the intense and blinding blue light of noon and the dusky pastel shades of the evening which are gradually engulfed by the pitch-black darkness of night. That's all there is to it. Day in day out. The sun rises and sets again. This is the cosmic clock that governs life around here. The remarkable thing is that as the day wears on in this seemingly monotonous way, this uninterrupted flow of time is gradually permeated by a profusion of thoughts, fantasies, experiences and memories. Although I do not know what day it is in the morning, I do feel that the day is mine. Instead of being driven by appointments and nervous glances at the clock,
I feel more or less in synch with an internal time. In other words, only by disembarking from the world's timetable can I enter such a thing as my own time.
However elusive and complex the phenomenon of "time" is, the premise of the essays in this book is really rather simple. Practically each one, I realized while rereading, is informed by the idea that, since the introduction of Greenwich Mean Time at the end of the nineteenth century, we have been living our lives by clock time, pushing the other, more personal or inner experience of time to the background.
We no longer appreciate that clock time, which rules our lives with a fairly heavy hand, was once merely a practical arrangement - "by far the most artificial of all inventions", to quote the writer W. G. Sebald.
On holiday, we have to literally extricate ourselves from the world and its clock time in order to experience what time really is; or rather, to experience how we ourselves are time. Besides having time - or not having it, as we tend to think - we are time, according to Henri Bergson. But this personal or internal time is difficult to label or pin down because it cannot be expressed in common units such as hours or minutes. This other time is something that is experienced rather than measured. That is why, for this book, I have turned to philosophers, writers, musicians and artists who have tried to convey the experience of this other time in their work. Although little can be said about this internal time from a strictly scientific point of view, it is something we really ought to start focusing on again. In the course of the twentieth century, we have gradually submitted to the strict rule of the clock and this has had consequences for the way we view the world and ourselves. The law that by and large governs the regime of clock time is the law of economic returns, whereas the dimension in which the other time carries us is that of our inner self, indeed of our humanity, as St. Augustine and later Ernst Bloch have argued. The point is not to exchange one time for the other, but to recapture this other time and to restore the balance between the two. "Only when the clock stops does time come to life" is a quote from William Faulkner to which I wholeheartedly subscribe. Enhancing our sensitivity to this "true time" with which we can enrich and broaden our time-bound existence is, in short, what I had in mind when I wrote these essays.
Cause de Clerans, July 2009
Time on our side
illustrations by Jaap de Jonge
So It’s Love
In february 2008 J. J. Hermsen published her fourth novel: De liefde dus (So It’s Love). This novel about the 18th century writer Belle van Zuylen, (Mme de Charrière), got immediately a lot of attention and very good reviews from the press. It was reprinted shortly after publication. The story focuses on the deep emotional crisis in the life of Belle van Zuylen, caused by a secret lover, in the pre-revolutionary summer of 1785 in Paris. The novel is a combination of historical and fictituous letters, diaries, philosophical dialogues, novelistic fragments, in short an exciting blend of fact and fiction.
So It’s Love: review quotes:
“The structure – letters, novelistic passages and diary entries – is a clever invention from Hermsen, she uses it to make the novel intriguingly multifaceted. It delivers up beautiful connections between past and present, nods and mirrorings, without ever becoming repetitious. The difference between the historical sources and the rest of the novel is scarcely noticeable. Hermsen’s sentences are cast in stone, anchored, accurate and on the cutting edge of the knife. “Don’t make small talk.” Hermsen previously published an essay about this sentence of Zuylen’s, now she makes it part of her technique. She does this from a powerful, intelligent, daring and even biographical perspective. To sum it up: So it’s Love is precisely as a novel should be: sans gêne and incisive.” - Financieel Dagblad.
“Using Belle van Zuylen’s writings, Joke J. Hermsen has written a tasteful and inventive story about the big mystery in Belle van Zuylen’s life. In this period, Belle van Zuylen was in her mid-forties and unhappy in her marriage. Was there something between her and a young banker? No biographer has been able to ascertain it. So Hermsen sets to work as a novelist on Belle and Jean-Samuel’s story, and she has more than one reason to feel connected to her main character: she is approximately the same age as Belle was then, just as well-read, and just as interested in the ever fraught, exciting relationships between men and women, body and soul, freedom and morality. Passionate love is an illness, passion doesn’t go with morality, in love you become a different person – just when you think you have become yourself.” - De Volkskrant
“Joke J. Hermsen has opted for a daring narrative technique in which a reconstructed story, letters and diary entries alternate. The contents of Belle’s diaries come together with an account of the journey of her lover Jean-Samuel d’Apples to America. It is a masterful invention. For those who know the work of Belle van Zuylen, So it’s Love can only be a welcome addition. It is surprising and exciting and Belle’s deep inner experiences are beautifully described with great precision. Whoever hasn’t yet heard of Belle will want to know more about her after reading this fictive biography. The combination of fact and fiction has worked out really well in Hermsen’s novel.” - Literair Nederland
“Heart or head? This is the issue Love constantly comes up against. How the dilemma is handled is dependent on time, place and culture. Is feeling strong enough to file down the sharp edges of rational concerns? Belle van Zuylen, the main character of writer and philosopher Joke Hermsen’s fourth novel, So it’s Love, grapples with that question. The way the writer creates space in which to give her own thoughts free reign, whilst sticking to the historical facts, is admirable. Hermsen is strongest in the more contemplative passages, for example, when Belle writes to a friend, setting down what can go wrong in love. Love which is too heavily based on passion carries a destructive force within it because it leads to two people wanting to fully fuse with each other. In so doing they extinguish the source of love: otherness. A stimulating thought” – De Groene Amsterdammer
“Inspiring enough for a novel made up of fictive diary entries and philosophical letters which examines the essence of love, and tries to draw the contemporary reader into the intoxication of this ‘sickness called love”. Hermsen’s way of building up the plot between the boundaries of true-life fiction with a misunderstanding and a missed meeting, as any love affair should have, is admirable. Right up to the classic denouement how the affair panned out remains exciting. The eighteenth century décor is splendid : the political rumours in Paris, the furious coach journey (at the beginning) and the boat trip (at the end) which illustract and enliven the desperation of Belle and her lover. Equally the expansiveness of the text, the solemn philosophical speculations of this eighteenth century worrywort can be read as a flight into the romantic.” - Trouw
So It's Love
So It's Love, midprice
So It's Love, paperback
|Biography Belle van Zuylen - Summary of So It’s love
Isabella Agnetha Elisabeth Tuyll van Serooskerken (Belle van Zuylen) was born on the twentieth of October, 1740, in Slot Zuylen. She was the eldest daughter of an influential aristocratic family from Utrecht. For more than 30 years, Belle van Zuylen lived in a stately castle on the river Vecht, where she became well-versed in mathematics, physics, philosophy, literature and music. At the age of twenty, at a ball in The Hague, Belle van Zuylen met her first great love, Captain Constant d’Hermenches, with whom she maintained a clandestine correspondence for many years. Her letters to him were published two hundred years later under the title: ‘I have no talent for subordination.’
In 1771, following years of unsuccessful courtships and suitors, Belle van Zuylen finally married her brothers’ former Swiss tutor, Charles de Charrière. They settled in the small village of Colombier on Lake Neuchâtel, where she would live until her death in 1805. Belle van Zuylen spent the first twelve years of her marriage in total isolation. She lived with her husband and his two unmarried sisters at Le Pontet, a country mansion in the small village of Colombier, and knew just a few of the neighbours and local notables from in and around Neuchâtel. She barely wrote during these years. Her time was spent peeling pears and seeing to other daily household tasks. She was often very ill and would visit one Swiss spa after another. According to a family friend, Chaillet, loneliness and an unfulfilled desire to be ‘passionately loved’ made her desperately unhappy. She didn’t begin writing again until 1783. Around this time, she met the man with whom she would fall passionately in love and who inspired her to write her most beautiful novel: Caliste, or Letters from Lausanne. When this love affair came to a premature end in the summer of 1785, partly because his family opposed the match, Belle van Zuylen fell into the most profound depression of her life – the focal point of the novel So It’s Love.
In the summer of 1785, Belle van Zuylen became so dreadfully ill that she decided to leave Colombier and go travelling. She told no-one where she was going, not even her husband. Her biographers suspect she fled that summer because her lover had been forced to leave her by his family. In the novel So It’s Love, Belle travels to Paris for several weeks in order to visit the miracle healer and alchemist Count Cagliostro, who is both condemned as well as admired for his miraculous cures. Two years earlier in Strasbourg, he had helped cure her terrible headaches. Now at her wits’ end, she decides to seek his advice again.
Belle van Zuylen and the count would hold long discussions, which she recorded in her diary. However, when Calgliostro was arrested because of his connections with Cardinal de Rohan, Belle was forced to flee again. The Cardinal had been tricked by the fake Comtesse Jeanne de la Motte into lending her one and a half million pounds, the value of the diamond necklace that Marie-Antoinette had supposedly ordered. The queen, however, knew nothing of the matter and Louis XVI ordered anyone connected with the Cardinal, including Cagliostro, to be incarcerated at the Bastille. The affair of the diamond necklace is regarded by historians as the prelude to the French Revolution. Belle van Zuylen send her diaries to a friend, since she could not take anything that might incriminate her as one of his acquaintances. She asked her friend to keep these letters, which contained extremely compromising matters, safe and sealed until she would be able to collect them again. However, the packet was intercepted by her lover and Belle was never to see her diaries again.
Belle van Zuylen, pastel drawing
Fragment from So it’s love. (Farewell letter to her lover)
To Charles Jean-Samuel d’Apples.
‘I am groping around in the dark for answers, but this much I do know: that you returned to Lausanne after your journey to America came to a disastrous end. During your return journey, you misplaced many of your belongings, including my letters no doubt. You see, I am making it easy for you. There is no need for you to confess. You have now read all that has been tormenting me these recent months. You have learnt my hidden fantasies and seen deep into the darkest recesses of my heart. In short, you have dwelt in a place where no man has ever been before or should ever be allowed to enter. I cannot forgive you for this. I therefore make one last and urgent plea. Burn everything of mine you still possess and avoid any situation where there may be a danger of us meeting. Do not come anywhere near Colombier. Perhaps one day, when the time has come to lick the wounds that now keep us apart, we can begin writing to each other again.
I am taking my leave, but not without first thanking you for the music you brought to my life. Perhaps one day I will rediscover the melody that truly echoes all that I have ever felt for you. Adieu Jean-Samuel. I am going for my evening stroll behind the house that you know so well, and where in summers past we spent countless wonderful hours together. The sun has almost set and casts one last, crimson red beam onto a single house, a single mountain peak, and lifts it above the encircling darkness for one last moment. Everything has sunk into deep stillness and oblivion, except for the very last glowing ember that keeps burning for the sake of life, for the sake of memory. Adieu.’
I. T. de C.
Except for one last sojourn in Paris, Belle van Zuylen lived with de Charriere and his two sisters in Columbier until she died. She composed arias, minuets and entire operas, which for the most part have since disappeared. She also wrote several novels, including Three Women, various essays on the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and other luminaries, and, following the outbreak of the French Revolution, published many political pamphlets under a pseudonym. The young writer and politician, Benjamin Constant, would pay her the occasional visit. He was a cousin of her first and greatest love, Constant d’Hermenches, and his visits to Colombier were the only rays of light in her life. But this too came to an end when Constant chose the company of the much younger and much more influential writer, Germaine de Stael. Even so, Belle’s final letter, dated 10th December 1805, was addressed to him: ‘I still say that I am dying. My friends refuse to believe me, since I do not appear to be suffering from anything terminal. Alas, for me, the extinguishing of life is tantamount to death.’
Belle died during the night of 27th December, aged 65. De Charriere was so distraught that he was unable to attend the funeral. Her grave no longer exists. Not even a memorial stone marks the resting place of the greatest female Dutch writer of the 18th Century. The old cemetery was buried under a layer of clay and gravel at the beginning of the last century. For more than eighty years now, Belle van Zuylen has been lying beneath a tennis court.
Belle van Zuylen, painting
|The novel Tweeduister/Smokefall (2001)
'Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be consious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.'
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
In Smokefall, Hermsens second novel, the author pictures the passions, ambitions and disillusions of a group of English and American artists - T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Marlow Moss and Djuna Barnes - during the turbulent years of the Interbellum, the period between the two World Wars. In the ten years the book describes, the optimism and avantgardism of the 'roaring twenties' passes gradually into the fear, depression and conservatism of the thirties. The renewed threat of war disrupts not only political life, but affects also the private life of the modernist artists who are confronted with the complex relation between politics and art and can no longer remain on the sideline of public affairs.
Smokefall, situated in London and partly in Paris, follows closely the doubts, beliefs and hopes of some of these writers who have experimented fully with artistic and social forms but find themselves with no defence against the threat of war and fascism. They desperatly try to reamin faithfull to their work, but, as Virginia Woolf remarks, 'the time of the ivory tower is definitly over, we have to choose sides.' Their political awareness increases the tension between life and art, artistic autonomy and social engagement. 'I can't preach in an novel,' sighs Woolf, 'but I can neither pretend that all of this is not happening.'
The story of Smokefall is partly told by the leading character of the book, Martha Thompson, a young Dutch woman - daughter of a half Russian mother and an English father - partly by the historical characters - Woolf, Eliot, Moss, Barnes - themselves. This plurality of perspectives intensifies the experience of closeness to the different characters of the book and increases the multiplicity of voices and stories that are all based upon the same historical facts.
Smokefall is a fascinating novel about passion, war, artistmarriages and the abyss between life and art. It is not only a demysticifatation of the somewhat idealized life of the English Bloomsburygroup, it is also a thrilling story about the impact of war on different aspects of social life. It questions the political position of the writer and reactualizes the issue of social engagement of art. But is is also a novel about the search of identity, the conflicts of marriage, the creation process, solidarity and the refuge of religion. Allthough the novel is written in a very lucid and accesible way, which makes it suitable for a large audience, it also contains many small details that will surpise even the readers who know the works of Eliot and Woolf very well.
International Press on Tweeduister/ Smokefall /Die Gärten von Bloomsbury
'This novel is lively, sad, but yet full of hope and love. It’s a plurform, intelligent novel, and wonderfully well written. It’s a time-travel into the roaring twenties and a `hymne’ of a novel. You will never forget this book!’ (Germany, Alex Dengler, in: Bild am Sontag)
'Der Roman ist lebhaft, traurig, voll Hoffnung und Liebe. Er ist vielseitig, intelligent, aus dem Leben, und wunderbar erzählt. Er ist eine Zeitreise in die wilden Zwanziger Jahre und eine `Hymne von Roman! Sie werden ihn nie mehr vergessen!’
(Germany, Alex Dengler, in: Bild am Sontag)
'Hermsen paints the life in London so easily and full of life, as if she has lived herself in that time and place. The novel invites us to do further research, offers an exciting story and is extremely well constructed. Behind the innocent title, Die Gärten von Bloomsbury is hidden a literary pearl.’ (Switserland, Renate Dubach, in Die Berner Zeitung)
'Hermsen bildet das Leben in der britischen Hauptstadt so anstrengungslos lebendig ab, als ob sie schon damals gelebt hätte. Das Buch regt zu Nachforschungen an, bietet spannende Unterhaltung – und wenn nicht alles den Tatsachen entspricht – ist es hervorragend erfunden. Hinter dem harmlosen titel Die Gärten von Bloomsbury verbirgt sich eine belletristische Perle!’ (Switserland, Renate Dubach, in Die Berner Zeitung)
'Hermsen plays a subtil game on the borderline between fact & fiction. Art is confronted with political engagement, love with religion and violence with pacifisme. The second novel of Joke J. Hermsen is a real tour de force and also a work of great eloquence and precision.’
(Belgium, Jos Borre, De Morgen).
'Hermsen joue un jeu subtil sur la frontière entre fait et fiction. L'art y est confronté à l'engagment politique, l'amour à la religion et la violence au pacifisme. Le deuxième roman de Joke J. Hermsen est un vrai tour de force ainsi qu'une oeuvre de grande éloquence et de grande précision. (Belgium, Jos Borré, De Morgen)
'With this controversial and daring novel, the author realized a remarkable, courageous and grandiose performance. Hermsen disposes of sufficient literary qualities to write her story in a captive, eloquent and convincing way. Her epic descriptions and lyrical reflexions are very competent and effectif. I must congratulate the author with her succesfull attempt to create an interaction between fiction and history. The historical novel discovers new ways. Highly recommanded!’(Belgium, Louis Mercx).
'Avec ce livre osé et controversable, l'auteur a réalisé une performance curieuse, courageuse et grandiose. Hermsen dispose de suffisament de qualités littéraires pour écrire son histoire d'une manière captivante, éloquente et crédible. Ses descriptions épiques ainsi que ses réflexions lyriques sont très compétents et effectifs. Je dois féliciter l'écrivain avec son audace très réussie d'enscener une interaction entre des personages fictives et des personages historiques. Le roman historique découvre de nouveaux chemins! Recommandé vivement!' (Belgium, Louis Mercx)
'Tweeduister is a highly ambitious novel. As a fascinating tableau of the period between the two World Wars, and as a picture of tragical artists marriages, the novel is exceptionnaly well succeeded. Hermsen did not succomb under the heavy weight of the huge reputations of T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf. On the contraray. The dialogues are lively and fresh, the scenes follow each other up as quickly as in a good movie. Ther is a richness of ideas and themes, but one thought comes to the surface which recovers all others: the fatal stream of time, the impossibilty to change its cours, and the desperate attempts to resist to this in art and literature. The result is, in one word, a miracle.’ (The Netherlands, Thomas van den Bergh in Elsevier)
'Tweeduister est un roman très ambitieux. Comme tableau fascinant de l'époque de l'entre-deux-guèrres et des scènes de marriages tragiques, le roman est exceptionellement bien réussi. Hermsen n'a pas cedé sous le poids des grandes reputations de T.S. Eliot et Virginia Woolf. Au contraire. Les dialogues sont fraiches et vivaces, les scènes se poursuivent rapidement, comme dans un bon film. D'une abondance d'idées et de thèmes, une pensée vient à la surface qui recouvre tous les autres: l'écoulement fatal du temps, l'impossibilité de changer son cours, et les tentatives d'y résister quand-même dans l'art et la littérature. Le résultat est, en un seul mot, une merveille.' (The Netherlands, Thomas van den Bergh, in Elsevier)
Tweeduister / Die Gärten von Bloomsbury
Tweeduister / Die Gärten von Bloomsbury