In early 2015 we wrote about plans to publish an English translation of The Evenings by Gerard Reve. A decade after the author’s death, the book is now published and has received a glowing review in The Guardian.
The review compares the novel’s place in literature with that of Henry Green’s Party Going, and Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, while also commending Sam Garrett for his translation (which ‘avoids a thousand pitfalls to give us this enfant terrible of Dutch genius in an entirely convincing English’) and Pushkin Press for making the move to publish it.
The review also delves into the reasons why Reve’s work is so little known in English, despite great success in the Netherlands. It suggests that at the time when Reve was writing, the author’s outspoken anti-communist views and open homosexuality would not have been well received in publishing circles.
The translation of Bezorgde Ouders (Parents Worry), was published by Fourth Estate in 1990, but other than that, his writing, a style of creative non-fiction mixing travel writing and letters, authentic and otherwise, has remained unknown in English. Let us hope that the success of The Evenings leads to publication of more of Reve’s work in English.
GERARD Reve in The Low Countries
Read more about Reve in these two articles from The Low Countries Yearbook. Both texts refer to The Evenings.
The most recent issue of The Low Countries Yearbook also featured The Evenings' famous final sentences:
He breathed in, filling his chest with air, and climbed into bed. 'It has been seen', he mumbled, 'It has not gone unnoticed.' He stretched out and fell into a deep sleep.
Gerard Reve, Foto Nationaal Archief
more reviews of ‘The Evenings’
Sunday Telegraph: “An undisputed classic…it’s a fantastic novel.” (read more)
Financial Times: “Reve’s keen eye for absurdity manages to cast the mundane in a new, albeit macabre, light.” (read more)
The National: “A dark Dutch Masterpiece.” (read more)
The Irish Times: “A masterwork of comic pathos.” (read more)