The Darkroom of Damocles
During the German occupation of Holland, tobacconist Henri Osewoudt is visited by Dorbeck. Dorbeck is Osewoudt's spitting image in reverse. Henri is blond and beardless, with a high voice; Dorbeck is dark-haired, and his voice deep. Dorbeck gives Osewoudt a series of dangerous assignments:... show more
During the German occupation of Holland, tobacconist Henri Osewoudt is visited by Dorbeck. Dorbeck is Osewoudt's spitting image in reverse. Henri is blond and beardless, with a high voice; Dorbeck is dark-haired, and his voice deep. Dorbeck gives Osewoudt a series of dangerous assignments: helping British agents and eliminating traitors. But the assassinations get out of hand, and when Osewoudt discovers that his wife denounced him to the Germans, he kills her too. Having survived all the dangers, at the end of the war, Osewoudt is himself taken for a traitor and captured. He cannot prove that he received his assignments from Dorbeck. Worse, he cannot prove that Dorbeck ever existed. When he develops a roll of film that should show a photograph of the two of them together, the picture is a dud. He flees from prison in panic and is dishonourably shot on the run. The story of Osewoudt's fateful wanderings through a sadistic universe is thrilling. Is Osewoudt hero or villain? Or is he a psychopath, driven by delusions? It is the impossibility of ascertaining whether Osewoudt was on the "right" side or the "wrong" side - the moral issue of the Second World War in a nutshell - that makes Hermans' novel as breathtaking now as when it was written a decade after the war.
Publish date: October 27th 2009
Publisher: Overlook TP
Pages no: 400
Edition language: English
, European Literature
, Read For School
, World War II
, Dutch Literature
Original Title: De Donkere Kamer van Damokles This is a Dutch classic, and I got my copy when they distributed it for free via the libraries, in order to get more people to read and discuss books. The Darkroom of Damocles is set in the second world war where Henri Osewoudt meets Dorbeck - who look...
Een grandioos boek! En een echte page-turner, maar ook prachtig geschreven. Van de eerste tot de laatste bladzijde spannend en boeiend. De personen zijn erg goed uitgewerkt. Een glimp van het verhaal: een wat "ingeslapen" sigarenhandelaar komt aan het begin van de oorlog in contact met een Nederland...
A must read for school. A fine example of Dutch writing about WW2 as so many must read books for school are about WW2.