The Following Story– Cees Nooteboom

Following Story


Cees Nooteboom is a multi-prize winning Dutch novelist of enough stature that his name comes up as a Nobel prize candidate. He has nine works translated into English. I read his Harcourt published novel, The Following Story,winner of the 1993 European Literacy Prize for Best Novel.

Nooteboom’s novels are of the slim variety, but are said to make up for their volume with their weight, and this is for sure the case for this book. We follow the first person related tale of Herman Mussert, a down on his luck former Latin teacher and specialist in Ovid and Horace who wakes one day to discover he has misplaced his wallet, and well, his place, as well as mis-timed his time, dislocated his location… you get the idea. The following story is a trap door in many ways, and as a reader, we readily fall. The novels structure has a distinct division, and we readers connect with the second part depending if we go for the narrative’s central conceit, which I will leave right there as a spoiler preventative…bordering on the fable, and its reading would benefit, but not necessitate a familiarity with Ovid’s Metamorphosis

A thumbs up for Ina Rilke’s excellent English rendering.

Definitely deserving as a recommended read by Traces.


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