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Julia Hardcover – December 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Maclehose Press Quercus (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857050559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857050557
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,939,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'Extraordinary ... It is as chilling as it is sad and familiar' Irish Times. 'An excellent storyline ... vivid descriptions and easy poetic language' Historical Novels Review. 'Julia is a book that goes straight to the heart' Vrij Nederland. 'A masterpiece' Peter Henning, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

About the Author

Otto de Kat, born in 1946, lives and works as a publisher and novelist in Amsterdam. Man on the Move (MacLehose Press, 2009) was the winner of Holland's Halewijn Literature Prize. Ina Rilke is the prize-winning translator of books by Cees Nooteboom, W. F. Hermans, Erwin Mortier, Tessa de Loo, Dai Sijie, Margriet de Moor and Arthur Japin, among others.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sdk on January 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable short novel, beautifully written and exquisitely translated by Ina Rilke, one of the world's most gifted translators, and for my money the best translator of Dutch literature into the English language. De Kat has a precise, direct style that pierces with lasting images, especially of characters. I hope Ina Rilke's translation will bring De Kat's work to the attention of more readers. "Julia" is every bit the equal of De Kat's much-lauded "Man on the Move" and superior to his excellent, though flawed, "Figure in the Distance." If you appreciate novels of the human condition, interior struggles under extraordinary circumstances (here, of immediately pre-WWII Germany & Netherlands), then I highly recommend both Julia and "Man on the Move." Man on the Move has more action but both books concern the effect of these events on the more advantaged portions of Dutch society, especially on the soul of a generation that came of age in the pre-war period.
We feel the hand of another Rilke, Rainer Marie, whose poetry and images suffuse Julia. The novel concerns a reluctant Dutch industrialist, Chris Dudok, who returns to his homeland after a year working in Lubeck where he has encountered and fallen in love with Julia Bender, an engineer and colleague. He returns to the Netherlands to avoid danger but, most pointedly, at the urging of Julia. She saves him by insisting that he will endanger her if he remains in Germany. She stays to oppose the Nazis and in the hope of assisting her brother, Andreas, who is sent to a concentration camp for political activities. Ultimately, Dudok loses Julia to the war and his timidity, "the impotence of the self-respecting bourgeoisie" (though De Kat uses this phrase not to describe Dudok but rather the German middle classes under Hitler).
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Format: Kindle Edition
The novel opens with a chauffeur finding the body of his elderly boss next to a bottle of pills and a 1942 newspaper. The succeeding chapters move between Dudok as a young man,working in Lubeck in the late thirties, and his last day on earth now. As Germany teeters on the brink of war, Dudok meets the love of his life, Julia, a spirited young woman who refuses to be swept along with the herd mentality that embraces Nazism.
Their ultimatel destinies leave Dudok with a 'perennially supressed, deeply buried sense of yearning.'...
I found this rather a forgettable novel, despite the subject matter.
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