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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the horizon, three windmills in a row. Shimmering glasshouses., 29 Aug. 2012
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Darkroom Of Damocles (Hardcover)
Set in the closing years of WWII, this engrossing book follows the exploits of Henri Osewoudt, a 17 year-old youth caught up the activities of the Dutch Resistance. Taken in by his aunt and uncle when his mother killed his father, he was sexually initiated by his older cousin Ria, and later they were married. He is persuaded by someone who might be his double - both young men are slightly built, but his persuader, Dorbeck, is his opposite; dark where Osewoudt is fair. On the outbreak of war with Germany Henri meets and begins a serial relationship where he is asked to print photographs (photography is his hobby) and do other tasks to help the Dutch Resistance, sometimes with the assistance of the mysterious and beautiful Marrianne.

The seriousness escalates to the point where he is entrusted to take part in a kidnapping plot, and several other murderous exploits, for which he uses a number of aliases. Then he is caught in a cinema and taken to Gestapo HQ.

The book is overlong, but for all its faults it's central puzzle - does Dorbeck really exist, or is he just another alias of Osewoudt's? Going back to the beginning I found an instance when Ria, Osewoudt's wife, also glimpses Dorbeck. But by the end of the book one is wavering towards the possibility that Dorbeck has never existed. This would entail schizophrenia on the part of Osewoudt, which, one supposes, might be an explanation.

Much of this book is riveting stuff, especially the kidnapping plot, but at the same time, it does hang on too long and the reader could be forgiven for running out of patience. And how does Damocles come into it? Well, I suppose there are several points at which Osewoudt could have been unmasked as a Dutch agitator, and the over-reliance on non-existent photographic proof of Dorbeck's existence never arrives. But right until the end, the terrible sword of truth continues to dangle.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review Darkroom of Damocle, 4 Jun. 2007
This review is from: The Darkroom Of Damocles (Hardcover)
There has been and ther still is a big discussion in the Netherlands whether this book is W.F. Hermans best book or his second best (competing with "Beyond Sleep"). Never mind,... This book is considered anyway amongst one of the best in postwar dutch litterature ! Although deceased in the mid ninetees, Hermans still is a classic dutch author read by a lot of dutch scolars. The book treats Hermans classical theme of treason and deception. Hermans considers you can never trust eachother and always have to be prepered to be deceived by your pairs. The main person finally can't even trust himself and after some heavy despair seems to run in some kind of paranoia ("Paranoia" by the way is the title of one of Hermans' other books). The atmosphere is heavy and dark like in most of Hermans' book, but the intrigue is like always brilliant. Whether you like this or not, you MUST read it if you want to have a representative impression of Hermans and dutch postwar litterature. Brilliant !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 Aug. 2014
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Great book. Bleak, but intense, a bit Kafkaesque. Reminded me of the dystopian surrealism of 'The Trial;'
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, 27 May 2015
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This review is from: The Darkroom Of Damocles (Hardcover)
Very good quality and excellent price.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My time., 1 April 2009
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This review is from: The Darkroom Of Damocles (Hardcover)
I found it an interesting read. Not politically correct in these modern times, but written in a realistic way at the time of the end of the war in Holland.
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The Darkroom Of Damocles
The Darkroom Of Damocles by W F Hermans (Hardcover - 7 Jun. 2007)
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