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Wonder [Paperback]

Hugo Claus , Michael Henry Heim
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £8.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

April 2009
While exposing the remains of Flemish fascism twenty years after the War, Wonder tracks one man's descent into madness. Victor, a bewildered teacher, pursues a mysterious woman to a castle in a remote village. There he finds himself trapped among a handful of desperate individuals still living out their collaboration with the Nazis. As Victor's sanity begins to crumble, he poses as an expert on their messianic leader, who disappeared at the Russian front but whose return they believe imminent. The rich cadences of the prose and dense emotional texture of characters lost in complex moral labyrinths make Wonder a symphony only Claus could have composed.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Archipelago Books; Tra edition (April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980033012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980033014
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 14 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,076,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars winstonsdad view 25 July 2010
Format:Paperback
Wonder was published late last year by archipelago books .It is one of the few Claus in print at the moment ,Claus was one of Belgians major writers having won a lot of prize and also courted controversy with his subject matter and even his own death due to euthanasia .This edition is wonderfully translated by Micheal Henry Heim who also translated my century by Gunter Grass .

The book is about Victor de Rijckel a teacher in a small town in post war Belgium ,the chapters tend to jump from time to time and are inter speed with what are date notebook entry's that are written by de Rijckel whilst in a sanatorium in transpires ,in describing events de Rijckel talks about school local people and ends up going to a masquerade ball where he sees and follows a woman to a small village and a meeting of post war fascists including the sinister Crabbe a former member of the ss this eventually leads victor to lying and despair as he question his on morals and people round him at this point he cracks .

14 November ,about 8 o'clock

....and I ve stopped writing .Korneel keeps goading me.Two lines a day and we ll make it he says.Frozen feet .losing weight .draw out vapor.This table was once used for cleaning herring ;you can smell it in the wood.Draw out vapors.Write a fair hand,all curlicues and cues .I don't want this pen squirting shame on the paper ;I don't want any regrets;the past clouds sail past.didn't I say they were spots?Like butterfly spot? I did I sit

the book its self is square nicely printed ,with a Goya print on the cover
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lost in World Lit 23 Jun 2012
By Wonderlust - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
(3.75)I picked this up after noticing it had won a PEN Translation Prize and after having enjoyed the fresh perspectives that great translations of great writers have on the English language.

The positives: You can open the book to any page and find something uniquely poetic or insightful. I will keep the book for this reason. It reminded me at times of Ulysses and Steppenwolf. The book is designed like a half-book or perfect square, but the pages are surreptitiously long, an illusive nature befitting of the text.

The in-between: The sheer random non-linear plot keeps you on your toes, but it can be frustrating to continually leap into new stories and histories page after page, leaving you often feeling lost in a labyrinth, which then becomes cool and rewarding and just like life itself!

The not-so-great: The book could use notes for all the references and foreign phrases that non-Flemish readers will need to research. It takes some time to get into the book, partly due to chapters written in a 'mad-house', where poetics reign over plot progression. Insane writing can be contrite, but here it just takes time to warm-up to. Finally, the ending was (to my modern sensibilities) incongruously bleak and abrupt, which I'm sure was the point.
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