Gerbrand Bakker doesn’t understand Fosquel at all

The first part of Han Fosquel’s diary will be published next week: almost a man. Gerbrand Bakker begins reading with a new frequency, but still falls under Voskuil’s spell again. read report.

Gerbrand Bakker

Once, in a moment of vague panic that I could not come up with a new book, I suggested writing Fosquel’s biography. The folks at Van Oorschot saw something in it, or wait, maybe it’s better not to have an autobiography, but perhaps a personal view of the writer? (They knew about the diary, of course).

Later, I was sometimes called about it and I would like to note at that moment of unfocused panic, but first of all I realized that the autobiography would be superfluous, because Fosquel wrote everything himself.

If you were to put all the books together like a puzzle, it would go a long way: the desk Read about at the same time that the three walking diaries issue a daily report. On the other hand: When asked why Jan Brugelmann from requiem for a friend does not appear in the desk “Because I didn’t need him,” Fosquel replied in an interview.

Whatever autobiographical novels may look like, and may be, they do not have to equate reality with fiction. Strange as it may sound, given the size the deskVoskuil was above all a master of omission.

You might assume that’s not the case with diaries, although you never know to what extent it has been edited. Thus, the entire year of 1947 consists of only a page and a half. What happened there? Is this an editorial, or did Fosquel not feel that way that year?

I begin, let me admit, with a new reluctance to read. The first entry dates back to 1939, when Han Fosquel was thirteen years old. I generally don’t feel like writing for kids or teens at all. I’m not interested. These are immature expressions of feelings or thoughts, things stolen from fan writers. No special sound.

vintage fox hole

However, even that first note is already a vintage Voskuil moreover: Within a few pages, we’re already in the middle of a war and he’s grown from kid to teen, he’s a hockey fanatic, playing the stage, sitting on committees of all kinds and spurs of jealousy on girls. Well, this problem solves itself, but a new one appears: I am beginning to realize that these are the building blocks of what was in 1963. Upon closer examination And unlike many Voskuil fans, I find that novel almost unreadable. I think it’s a stupid book. Boring. devoid of humour. Strange duck to sting among the rest of his work.

Rico Polthuis wrote sixty years ago in Hajesh Kourant: “Upon closer examination Foolish. It is the most expensive and worthless piece of cloth on the market in recent years. It has only one advantage: it has reached absolute zero in our literature. The second edition was not published until twenty years later.

Rico Balthois? Names like his crop are everywhere and profusely in this first volume. Names that don’t mean anything to us anymore. Hey, there’s Du Perron again, and Aha Ter Braak appears again. In this sense, very little editing has been done, and there is very rarely a note at the bottom of the page.

Well, this is a choice. The diary full of notes is also unreadable somewhere, because you want to continue and all this explanation hinders that.

What turns out anyway is that Fosquel is a pure thinker, who reads a lot of literature and philosophy and engages in self-examination almost every day. endoscopy; How does it relate to others? What is the value of friendship? Who is good and who is not? Is he or not one hundred percent honest in these pages? He is very busy with himself. Obviously, as you might think, this is a diary after all. “Self-clarification” he calls it.

I want more cows and calves

But because he is emphatically, almost oppressively, implicated in this, no image or feeling of the Fifties emerges from the pages. How was the world at that time? How did that world feel, what was that world like? Or even: what did he and my lozs eat? I want to know: What did Han Fosquel eat! Or rather: I want more short talks. I was almost shocked when the flood was mentioned in February 1953. Oh yeah, there’s a world out there! There are people other than Ter Brac, de Peronne, Helenga, Yap, Fred, Frida, Jean and Louis.

On June 21, 1950 he wrote, “If these diaries are to make sense, I will have to find a new way of writing, more realistic, more grounded, and not indulgent in theoretical considerations.” yes! I believed. Do it! start now! It’s just one comment. On page 433 he wrote: “I stopped writing yesterday because I had enough of myself.”

Every now and then a change in tone could be detected, as if he had decided to do things differently outside of the diary. That’s weird: I want to know why and that’s exactly what he didn’t write. Lots of texts and as a reader he still has the feeling of missing everything.

I just can’t follow him

Above I wrote what I thought Upon closer examination. What I didn’t mention there, perhaps out of embarrassment, was that this book was actually over my head. I simply did not understand much. Now the same thing happened to me, but worse. Fosquel’s way of thinking, reasoning, and writing is so unique that I don’t understand anything about it. I just can’t follow him. This isn’t fun to read, page after page full of text you don’t understand. Now I know for myself that I am not the most intelligent, but I am also not from the street. I also studied Dutch, just like Fosquel.

Being full of misunderstandings, I cannot put my finger behind his problem; What exactly is bothering him? Where does this struggle come from? What causes his spleen? I want to stop reading, but I can’t if you are assigned to write a review. Example. January 6, 1954: Burning all this up sometimes seems the best solution, but I’m afraid I won’t be recognized when I’m naked. What the hell is there?

Complete lack of humor

What also amazes me is the complete lack of humor. Something about fifty years later the desk Capable of what makes his writing what it is.

I should think about Toon Tellegen for a moment. I once bought a thick book with all the animal stories up to that point. It turned out that it contained a CD. Hey, how cute, I thought, the writer who reads some animal stories himself. I put it in my CD player and ten minutes later I was completely done with Toon Tellegen. That voice, that dictation, it was horrible. I also put the book aside. The author himself prevented me from reading it.

This is a dangerous fosquel in my opinion. But wait a minute, it’s now 1955 and for unexplained reasons he lost. I mean, leaving it here: turns to the writer Fosquel I know and admire. A page-long conversation with Henk Romein (“Henny”) Meijer about the ordinary. Almost cows and calves. humor. No more diaries, you can’t, you can’t remember literally everything. Dreams too, many dreams. I have something against that, I always think I’m supposed to explain and I’m damned to solve writer’s laziness, but it’s a new way of writing. Lousje appears more and more often, sometimes in the role of Nicolien already the deskwhile it hardly plays a role in the rest of this diary.

There are no notes between May and September. And then he and Louise were in Groningen. After a nasty eviction in Amsterdam, he probably revealed almost nothing. That’s what I meant when I wrote that there’s a lot of text in front of you, but you still feel like you’re missing something. Letters to Frida Vogels and on December 28th (to stay on Voskuilian terms) Great report on a visit to a hairdresser.

Get the second part

The justification shows Fosquel was his own editor. In the 1980s, he wrote what he thought was important on a typewriter. So it may be that he himself did not consider that most of 1947 was significant decades ago. Deliverers have omitted trails that would interfere with a hiking diary. And with the inclusion of the name register, “names that no longer mean anything to us” have been partially omitted. I see that this first volume of Fosquel’s diary is not just for me. Lovers Upon closer examination I will love him. During that year 1955 I got a glimpse of what was to come. It’s almost 1957 already!

“Hello, Mr. Berta,” he said.

Mr. Berta stopped at the half-opened door, staring straight at him, as if they were uncomfortable.

Bring this second part.


JJ Fosquel
almost a man
Diary 1939-1955
Van Urchot 800 pages 45 €

J.J. Voskuil (1926-2008) published a seven-part autobiographical novel cycle between 1996 and 2000 the desk which was a huge success in the nineties. After his death four more books were published: inside the skinAnd the neighborAnd the human children And the I’m not me.

Fosquel’s diaries will not be published until after the death of his widow, Lucy Fosquel-Haspers, but she decided to publish earlier. The first part will be released on September 22nd: Almost a man. Diary 1939-1955.

This beginning of what will once again be a seven-part series will be festively presented on September 21 during a literary evening with Fosquel experts, including Miriam van Hengel, Haneke Gruntmann and Elsbeth Etty.

Where: Aula of the Lutheran Church, Amsterdam. Time: 8 pm. Tickets (€5):

Read also:

Why the Netherlands became addicted to the colorless office life of Het . office

Thirty Years of Desktop Frustration Divided into Seven Parts: 5,500 pages of overwhelming dullness. The Netherlands couldn’t get enough of it 25 years ago. What made JJ Voskuil’s office such an unprecedented success?

Leave a Comment