Nostalgic, elegiac story about a Dutch family in the 1960s and their journey from innocence to experience
The story of a family – mother, father (ex-WWII pilot), twelve-year-old son, David – who live above a toy shop in a small town on the windswept Dutch coast.
On the same day that David finds himself listening to the toy shop owner complaining that he can’t sell model aeroplane kits any more because kids nowadays are too lazy to glue all the pieces
together, David’s father quits his job in a fit of pique and pride. A few hours later, his mother comes
home, having left her job too.
So, David devises a plan – and before the day is over the whole family is at home, putting model aeroplanes together. A wonderful, perfect summer ensues, suddenly interrupted by the arrival of an unexpected visitor, his father’s old friend from the war. His arrival revives old feelings of loyalty, love and hatred – and ensures that nothing will ever return to a perfect state again.
Accessible, warm, funny and wise, this novel was a massive bestseller in Moring’s native Holland. A gem of a story, it has the fable-like appeal of a Miss Garnet’s Angel (but without the middle-Englandness) or of Bernard Schlink’s The Reader (but without the heavy moral overtone).The book is most reminiscent of J.L. Carr’s A Month in the Country, the Booker Prize-winning English novel set just after WWI, heavy with nostalgia, evocative, melancholy.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
‘One of the many remarkable achievements of this precise yet mysterious novel is its brevity: into its 120-odd pages Marcel Möring folds a war memoir, a family psychodrama and a meditation on time and memory. With a winning lightness of touch, he pinpoints that cusp of adolescence when a child begins to wake up to what he is, feeling "the first nudge in the back that later becomes the rhythm of life itself, grown-up life", and to apprehend the multi-layered pasts that have made his parents what they are. The Dream Room effortlessly weaves the freshness of a child's perspective with the wisdom of recollection. It is a miracle of compression: everything is significant, yet nothing is laboured. One races through it, eager to discover the heart of the mystery, right to the end of the stubbornly resistant coda in which the adult David offers us a fairy story; the concentrated narrative perfected into myth. And then one reads it again, still looking for the kind of answers that can't be
‘It’s been a while since a Continental star of fiction shone over here in the Kundera or Eco style. Moring stakes a strong claim to that role with this quite magnificent performance. Rich, Dickensian storytelling, warm and wise humour, a sweeping sense of history – a world-class performance from the new Dutch master.’ Independent (on In Babylon)
‘Immensely rewarding, instantly readable yet full of imagery, myth and magic.’ Good Book Guide
‘In Babylon is that rarest of things: a truly intelligent novel with a terrific story at its heart.’ Amazon
‘A fat, rich novel, stuffed with story, bulging with plot. Read it once then read it again.’ The TimesFrom the Back Cover:
Twelve-year-old David lives with his mother and father above a toy shop in a small Dutch town. On the same day that the toy shop owner complains yet again that he can't sell model aeroplane kits any more because kids nowadays are too lazy to glue all the pieces
together, David's father – an ex-WWII pilot – quits his job for the umpteenth time. A few hours later, his mother comes home, having left her job too.
So, David devises a plan – and before the day is over the whole family is at home, putting model aeroplanes together for the toy shop owner to sell. A long, rainy Dutch summer ensues, in which mother, father and son work alongside each other; they've never been so close, never felt so secure. Then one night, David hears his father's voice, full of surprise and the next morning there's a visitor at the breakfast table, Humbert Cole, an old wartime friend. The unexpected arrival of this charming and worldly man revives old feelings of loyalty, love and hatred – and ensures that nothing will ever return to a perfect state again
"Evocative and moving…told with convincing passion"
"A Haunting novel about three rootless siblings…told with disquieting subtlety and surprising detail."
"A fat, rich novel, stuffed with story, bulging with plot. Read it once, then read it again."
"A magnificent novel. Rich Dickensian storytelling, warm and wise humour: a world-class performance from the new Dutch master."
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Flamingo, 2002. Hardback with Dust Jacket. Book Condition: New. Published by Flamingo in 2002. Hardback with Dust Jacket, 118 pages. New book. The book has not been read, it is in perfect condition, cover and pages are not damaged. Bookseller Inventory # 33051
Book Description 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Flamingo, 2002. Hardcover with dj as a fold out poster, pages are lightly tanned but this is A BRAND NEW BOOK UNUSED. Full refund if not satisfied. 24 hour despatch. If not pictured in this listing, a scan of the actual book is available on request. Bookseller Inventory # nf3138