Sunday, August 31, 2014

Omheind - Fenced

Yesterday in Het Letterenhuis Omheind / Fenced, the second novel by Hilde Keteleer, published by the young publishing house 'Vrijdag', was presented. Leen van Dijck welcomed the substantial crowd and spoke, explained a bit about the task of Het letterenhuis and  spoke warmly about the new book of Hilde. Jos Gijsels spoke eloquently about her book. It was obvious they have known each other for a long time and he pointed out the importance of her book. The the desert came to us with the haunting music by AISHAM, a Palestinian-Syrian ensemble. Their music lets you feel the sand run between your fingers... and then Hilde read pieces by each of the four voices of her novel. The novel introduces us to a hybrid, checkered family with hankering for  the love of the mother and unknown fathers. Hilde is an accomplished writer and does good research so in reading the novel you glean a lot of information. She does, what I couldn't do weave reality into fiction, incorporate it as the spine of the story. Her description of what a desert can do with a person did hit home for me and the difficulties of  not so simple love between different cultures. She sparingly incorporates a few Arabic words underscoring the fact that you are 'elsewhere' in her interesting, mature novel.

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