Publisher: Oxford University Press
Weight: 420 g
The stories in this anthology were published under the name of Vincent Mahieu, one of the two pseudonymns of Jan Boon, an Indo-European born in Holland in 1911.
As Tjalie Robinson, journalist and activist, Jan Boon endeavoured to present the Indo-Dutch abroad, the Indos, from losing their distinctive culture, the heritage from their life in the Dutch East Indies. As Vincent Mahieu, intellectual, versatile, 'Western' Boon has left us with unique, engaging stories about the Indos with whom he grew up in the colonial society of the Indies. Calling himself 'a teller of tales' and drawing on his own experiences, Mahieu acquaints us with an extraordinary variety of characters - some humorous, other tragic, all fascinating.
However, much as we are captivated by the colourful personalities and the riveting accounts of motorcycle racing, fighting, fishing, hunting, and all the daredeviltry that Mahieu loved and described so skilfully, we are made poignantly aware, especially in his longest story 'Tjoek', of his symbolism and the existentialist strain in his thought as he writes of the hunter and the hunted and the shadow death casts on life.
As Rob Nieuwenhuys, Dean of Dutch East Indies literature says: 'Whoever reads Tjalie Robinson or Vincent Mahieu will be deeply impressed and will observe how clearly and directly he writes, with a rarely found force and vivacity. He is unique.'
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