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Out of Mind 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0879237349
ISBN-10: 0879237341
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bernlef, whose more than 50 books are well known in his native Holland, makes his first appearance in English translation with this view of illness and aging as unsentimental as it is sympathetic. His intimate and affecting story of the dramatic decline suffered by an elderly man afflicted by Alzheimer's disease draws its strength from the first-person narrative voice of the man himself. Initially lucid, if fatigued, 71-year-old Maarten Klein lives with his wife Vera in Gloucester, Mass. Dutch-born, they endured with difficulty the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands before emigrating to the U.S., where Maarten worked as a secretary for the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization. While Maarten has long considered himself a socially "marginal figure," in other respects the Kleins' lives are unremarkable but for his intensity of perception, sustained in sharply convincing fragments even as his faculties disintegrate. "I seem to lose words like another person loses blood," he observes helplessly, and resolves to "invent a life for myself from minute to minute," but ultimately becomes the sole and poignant "survivor of my own language."
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Dutch
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 150 pages
  • Publisher: David R Godine Pub; 1st edition (November 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879237341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879237349
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,477,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Martens and Vera Klein natives of Holland are retired, living by the sea in Gloucester, Mass. Suddenly Martens begins to lose his orientation, grip on the world and on himself. This is in one sense loss of memory but in another loss of recognition of familiar things. The novel traces the process of this loss while at the same time telling the story of the lives of the couple.
It is written in a sharp, clear poetic prose. We see the decline through the first- person narration of the victim. What we get is supposed to be what he experiences and thinks. There are many especially poignant scenes including those relating to the times when the couple were younger, raising their children.
The picture of the decline had to me a frightening authenticity about
it.
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Format: Hardcover
I did not actually read the English version, but I assume 'Out of Mind' is the English title for the Dutch "Hersenschimmen" (more literal translation: figments of the mind) by Bernlef, which I did read. The book describes the thoughts of an old man who is suffering from old age dementia; in a short period he deteriorates from reasonably clear-minded to 'totally lost'. At times, his thoughts still make amazingly much sense, even at the end of the book.
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