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Rituals Paperback – 4 Jan 1996

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Paperback, 4 Jan 1996
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill P.; New e. edition (4 Jan. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860460488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860460487
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.4 x 13.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,392,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Blessed with the novelistic inheritance of a dysfunctional family whose power and resources mean that he has no need to work, `Inni' saunters around Amsterdam, enjoys casual sex frequently and finds life generally pointless. Poor thing,eh? He meets - successively - a father and son; the first in the 1960s, the latter in the 1970s. Their existential disdain for life recalls his own, but their ritualised responses to it do not.

A novella out of time: `Rituals' (publ. 1983) recalls a culture where it was assumed that the novel would both sustain its intellectual prowess and preoccupy itself with the indulged male's need for higher meaning. Women are another country, accomplishments `merely' call for application, and plots are disregarded as a childlike obsession - since the randomness of events are an affront to the philosophical mind.

Personally I could take exception to this were it not that Noteboom's concern with the philosophical function of memory seems more original: "Memory'" he says "is like a dog that lies down where it pleases". Like that! `Rituals' might be parked in a chronological siding - overtaken by designer label soaps, serial killers, magical realism and chick-lit - but it's all the more endearing for it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Cees Nooteboorn, b. 1933, published his novel `Rituelen' in 1980 and this English translation, by Adrienne Dixon in 1983, won the Pegasus Prize, an award `to introduce American readers to distinguished works from countries whose literature is rarely translated into Engllsh'.

Nooteboon's central character is Inni Wintrop, named after Inigo Jones, who is wealthy enough to dabble, buying art, writing a newspaper horoscope and investing in the financial markets. He is without any aim in life [`If he had ever had any ambition, he would have been prepared to call himself a failure, but he had none.'] but he finds pleasure in his insatiable desire for women. In the short first part, Intermezzo, it is 1963 and his wife, Zita, leaves him for an Italian because she can no longer put up with his infidelities and lack of any personal or professional commitment. He tries to commit suicide, and fails.

The second part, set ten years earlier, describes Inni's meeting with Arnold Taads, a former Dutch skiing champion who has lost an eye. The final part takes place in 1973 and describes Inni's meeting with Philip Taads, Arnold's unacknowledged son. Arnold and Philip share lives in which they have isolated themselves, physically and emotionally, from the demands of the real world.

Inni, a restless and rootless character, has had to devise and exploit ways, the `rituals' of the title, to get through everyday life. In childhood he relied on the Catholic religion but this was disrupted and he was no longer able to regain its security. As the book develops it becomes clear that this protective behavior is a necessary requirement for the other characters. Life is, quite simply, a struggle for everyone and not just for characters in a Dutch novella.
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Format: Paperback
This is a thought provoking novel from one of Europe's best writers. It is more than a novel, more a life experience.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x94b6e9f0) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9501c6c0) out of 5 stars Thoughtful meditation on chaos and passion 15 Jun. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is also in my top five books of all time. I did a search under the keyword "rituals" and it did not pop up (I had to find it a backwards way), and I had a moment of profound sadness thinking that this most wonderful book could be out of print. "Rituals" truly does inspire me. I haven't read it in four years, but it still is one of the best books I've ever read. I loved the intoxication of love and the meaning of life search of the main character. What can induce you to get off of the floor and live? I've wondered that many times in my life, and Inni (the main character) explores what REALLY matters - if anything. It's not to say that this book is a dour questing life meaning book - rather it is a rich, bravado, humorous, cleansing book that has many many rewards. The part of this book that I often think about (and I hope this wouldn't be a spoiler) is the correlation of Inni's mad, chaotic city (Amsterdam if I remember correctly) with monks in Japan. Very funny and important book. I almost feel akin to all the other reviewers who have read this as if we're in a special club.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9501cb28) out of 5 stars Human Rituals in Godless World 18 Jan. 2000
By Andrew Karbovsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This small splendid book is full of ideas. Which is the main one? What is this novel about? A Bildungsroman. An import of human sexuality. An up-to-date evolution of Nietzsche's concept of "the death of God". A fate of art in modern society. A trip through time - the fifties, sixties, seventies... Confronted with soullessness of official religion Inni Wintrop, a protagonist of the book, Arnold and Philip Taads, two other main characters of the novel, lost their belief in God, but in cold emptiness and animosity of godless world they created their own rituals. Arnold Taads designed a ritual of strict time regulations of loneliness where even his former lover was not permitted to come in when she had appeared ten minutes before appointed time. Philip Taads turned to Japanese cults "stemmed from a culture and a tradition that were not his and could never become his". He devised his own East considering the real Japan a spoiled one. They both started with dislike to the milieu which inevitably turned into hatred pointed towards the whole world including themselves. This self-made rituals helped them only in one occasion - to commit suicides in conspicuous but rather stagy style. For Inni Wintrop women became his religion. In incessant love-making he lost something very important that makes Love. His sexual promiscuous rituals destroyed his marriage and put him on the verge of death in unsuccessful suicide. The tragic fate of Arnold and Philip Taads, his own meaningless life showed Inni fallaciousness of universal hatred but he still had no answers to the crucial questions of human existence in godless world. I recommend this book to everyone - the beautiful and sad novel of wise Dutch author Cees Nooteboom.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9501cb4c) out of 5 stars Remarkable on all levels 2 Feb. 2003
By Victor Eijkhout - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book gives you something to chew on on every level. The prose is good, (the English translation can not capture some of the idiosyncrasies of Dutch, but is very good overall) right from its opening sentence "The day Inni Wintrop committed suicide, Philips shares stood ..." All of the characters in the book are memorable and wonderfully sketched. (As an introverted person, I'm always amused by the walk through the woods scene. Taats asks Inni a question which spurs a two-page train of thought, but he answers only in a mono-syllable.) And it goes up to the structure of the book: the first of the 3 parts is called "Intermezzo". Plenty of ideas here.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9501cb34) out of 5 stars For devoted cynics 17 Jun. 2007
By D. Brigandi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The novel reads like a cross between Perec's Things & A Man Asleep and Camus' Outsider. Beautifully written and quite comical for those of similar headspace, the novel also has some outstanding passages destined to bring a smile to the faces of the (non-devotedly) 'discontent'. It is a wonderful picture of late 20th Century man and shines as true literature in a literary world populated by Houellebecq drivel.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9501cf9c) out of 5 stars Spare but so rich in ideas, symbols 22 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have only recently become a fan of Nooteboom after buying an old copy of his "The Following Story" in an used bookshop. What he does best is to say so much in so few words, and nothing is wasted. This book is full of philosophical musings and observations and merits rereading. Just like his other books. Plus there are some absolutely delectable phrases about modern life.
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