533: A Book of Days
Though a tireless explorer of distant cultures, for more than forty years Cees Nooteboom has also been returning to Menorca, "the island of the wind", and it is in his house there, with a study full of books and a garden taken over by cacti and many insects, that the 533 days of writing take place.
The result is not a diary, nor a set of movements of the soul organised by dates, but "a book of days", with observations about what is immediately around him, his love for Menorca, his thoughts on the world, on life and death, on literature and oblivion.
Every impression opens windows onto vast horizons: the Divine Comedy and the books it generated, the contempt of Borges for Gombrowicz, the death of David Bowie, the endless flight of the Voyagers, the repetition of history as a tragedy, but never as farce. 533 is a meditative rhapsody that would like to exclude the noise of current events, yet must return to them several times, and sceptically contemplates the threat of a disintegrating Europe. Reading this book is like having an extraordinary conversation with an extraordinary mind.
Translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson
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