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Wonder Paperback – 1 Apr 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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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: 15.2 x 2.2 x 15.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,031,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review


"Fine and ambitious. . . . A work of savage satire intensely engaged with the moral and cultural life of the author's Belgium. . . . Packed with asides, allusions, and fierce juxtapositions, a style created to evoke a world sliding into chaos where contrast and contradictions are so grotesque that we can only 'wonder'. . . . ["Wonder" is] a reminder of the energy and experimental verve with which so many writers of the Fifties and Sixties (Malaparte, Bernhard, Grass, Boll, Burgess, Pynchon) conjured up [a] disjointed and rapidly complicating world."
--"Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books"
"To speak today of a still largely-unknown major work on European Fascism . . . seems presumptuous, rather like announcing the existence of, if not a new continent, at least a land mass of strange and significant proportions. But in discussing Wonder, it would be churlish not to admit to an explorer's exhilaration at discovery."
--"Sam Munson, The National"
"We cannot accept the world as it is. Each day we should wake up foaming at the mouth from the injustice of things."
--"Hugo Claus"
"The greatest writer of my generation."
--"Remco Campert"
"Claus's work is just as broad as the soul is deep."
--"Gerrit Komrij"
"While fully aware that such an honorable title can only be used in great exceptions in Flemish literature, I would call "Wonder" a masterpiece."
--"Paul de Wispelaere, Vlaamse Gids"
"Claus rages against the decay of the physical self while desire remains untamed. From the beginning, his poetry has been marked by an uncommon mix of intelligence and passion, given expression in a medium over which he has such light-fingered control that art becomes invisible."
--"J.M. Coetzee"


Claus rages against the decay of the physical self while desire remains untamed. From the beginning, his poetry has been marked by an uncommon mix of intelligence and passion, given expression in a medium over which he has such light-fingered control that art becomes invisible. J.M. Coetzee
While fully aware that such an honorable title can only be used in great exceptions in Flemish literature, I would callWondera masterpiece. Paul de Wispelaere, "Vlaamse Gids "
Claus's work is just as broad as the soul is deep. Gerrit Komrij
The greatest writer of my generation. Remco Campert Fine and ambitious . . . A work of savage satire intensely engaged with the moral and cultural life of the author s Belgium . . . Packed with asides, allusions, and fierce juxtapositions, a style created to evoke a world sliding into chaos where contrast and contradictions are so grotesque that we can only wonder . . . . [Wonderis] a reminder of the energy and experimental verve with which so many writers of the Fifties and Sixties (Malaparte, Bernhard, Grass, Boll, Burgess, Pynchon) conjured up [a] disjointed and rapidly complicating world." The New York Review of Books "
To speak today of a still largely-unknown major work on European Fascism . . . seems presumptuous, rather like announcing the existence of, if not a new continent, at least a land mass of strange and significant proportions. But in discussingWonder, it would be churlish not to admit to an explorer s exhilaration at discovery. " The National""

About the Author

The prose, poetry, and paintings ofHugo Claus(1929-2008) were as influential as they were groundbreaking. His novels includeThe Sorrow of Belgium, his magnum opus of postwar Europe, as well asDesire, The Swordfish, Mild Destruction, Rumors, andThe Duck Hunt. His corpus of poetry is immense and stunningly diverse. Claus's painting led him to become involved in the avant-garde Cobra movement. Impossible to pin down. Claus was eclectic and in constant motion; his work is kaleidoscopic. In addition to receiving every major Dutch-language literary prize, Claus received the 2002 Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding for his body of work.
Michael Henry Heimhas translated dozens of novels, plays, and essays from a number of languages. His translations includeThe Unbearable Lightness of Beingby Milan Kundera, My Centuryby Gunter Grass, Helping Verbs of the Heartby Peter Esterhazy, and Thomas Manncentss Death in Venice. He is the recipient of the American Literary Translators Association Prize, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize, and the PEN American Center Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences."


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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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
4 of 5 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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