Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jan Wolkers's Turkish Delight

I finished yesterday on a train a Dutch novel, Turks fruit (1969) by Jan Wolkers. I don't think the book has ever been published in English, but the film based on the novel was seen in English-speaking countries under the name Turkish Delight. It's one of those erotic classics I'm reading for a forth-coming book.

I'm not entirely sure whether this could be called erotic - there's lots of sex and explicit language and the overall feel of the book is lewd, but it's not very rousing. However, the book has other qualities - it's funny as hell and there are lots of comments about post-WWII Dutch life. The book has also some interesting stuff related to the concentration camps - a theme that Wolkers, who was also known as a painter and sculptor, worked on in his art. Written in modernist, almost stream-of-consciousness style, this is an intriguing novel.

I haven't seen the film, but some say it's one of the best Dutch movies ever made (which probably isn't saying much). It was directed by Paul Verhoeven when he was still living in the Low Countries and it stars Rutger Hauer as an artist (yes, the book is autobiographical) whose wife has left him.


Peter Rozovsky said...

The movie struck me as a kind of downer romance. (I watched it when I was studying Dutch a few years ago.)
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Juri said...

Yes, it's a downer and it's a romance. I didn't make that clear in my post - but it's also almost pornography at times. Maybe the film downplayed that aspect of the book. I haven't seen it myself (did I say that already?).