notes on dutch literature

Posts Tagged ‘The Storm’

The Storm

In Pick of the Week on October 30, 2012 at 12:43 PM

I live in New York City. From behind my window I watched Sandy passing by yesterday night. As she pulled on our windows and broke the branches of the trees in our street, I heard the live reports of the real damage she had done: the floods in New Jersey, the power shutdown downtown Manhattan…

A gripping novel came to mind, The Storm by Margriet de Moor, about the 1953 North Sea hurricane that caused the flooding of a part of the Netherlands, Zeeland.

From the New York Times:

The Dutch author Margriet de Moor, a classical singer turned novelist, writes fiction that is musical, even when it doesn’t star castrati (The Virtuoso) or suggest a four-part fugue (First Gray, Then White, Then Blue). Her epigraphs cite musicians (Schoenberg, Schubert); her prose is shot through with recurring leitmotifs and song; and her sensitivity to sound and tempo permeates her new novel.

Illustration by Jakob Hinrichs

Lucidly translated by Carol Brown Janeway, The Storm is de Moor’s Winter­reise but written for two female voices, sisters whose lives she braids together in alternating chapters. We first meet them as they blithely take leave of each other. Lidy, 23, has agreed to a whim of her younger sister Armanda’s: They will trade lives for one day. They look so much alike, people will scarcely notice. Armanda will stay in Amsterdam to take care of Lidy’s family, while her sister will drive to rural Zeeland for a party where Armanda is expected. The date is Jan. 31, 1953, and what they can’t know is that this leave-taking will be final: the historic North Sea hurricane and flood will, within a day, wipe Zeeland temporarily off the map.

The Storm is available in translation in both print and e-book, published by Knopf. New York times published an excerpt.


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