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  • MacLehose Press

533: A Book of Days

Cees Nooteboom

5 Reviews

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Travel writing

Five hundred and thirty-three days in the life of a great writer, with his day-to day care of his house and his plants on the island of Menorca, and his reflection on the world and his place in the universe.

533 days in the life of a great European writer.

"The very first pages are so powerful that you suspect the author must have binned the preceding pages that were needed to climb to such heights" De Volkskrant

Though a tireless explorer of distant cultures, for more than forty years Cees Nooteboom has also been returning to Menorca, "the island of the wind", and it is in his house there, with a study full of books and a garden taken over by cacti and many insects, that the 533 days of writing take place.

The result is not a diary, nor a set of movements of the soul organised by dates, but "a book of days", with observations about what is immediately around him, his love for Menorca, his thoughts on the world, on life and death, on literature and oblivion. Every impression opens windows onto vast horizons: the Divine Comedy and the books it generated, the contempt of Borges for Gombrowicz, the death of David Bowie, the endless flight of the Voyagers, the repetition of history as a tragedy, but never as farce.

533 is a meditative rhapsody that would like to exclude the noise of current events, yet must return to them several times, and sceptically contemplates the threat of a disintegrating Europe. Reading this book is like having an extraordinary conversation with an extraordinary mind.

"The 533 days captivate in their undisguised openness to the world" Suddeutsche Zeitung

Photographs by Simone Sassen * Translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson

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Praise for 533: A Book of Days

  • Reading this book is like having an extraordinary conversation with an extraordinary mind. It possesses absolute artistry, an unobtrusive but unmissable purity of looking, thinking, expressing - hypnotic in rhythm and masterful lyricism - Groene Amsterdammer

  • A journal of observations and reflections, full of profundities and bright linguistic concision - Die Zeit

  • The very first pages are so powerful that you suspect the author must have binned the preceding pages that were needed to climb to such heights. He amazes the reader with images that are bursting with energy. - de Volkskrant

  • Nooteboom's book of days is a magnificent book. It is written in an outstanding style. He writes about the most ordinary things, but in a lyrical way . . . A jewel of a book - Leeskost

  • the 533 days captivate in their undisguised openness to the world - Sueddeutsche Zeitung

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Cees Nooteboom

Cees Nooteboom was born in The Hague in 1933, and now lives in Amsterdam and on the island of Minorca. He is a poet and novelist who has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards such as the Pegasus Prize and the Aristeion Prize for his novels, which include Rituals (1983), The Following Story (1994), and All Souls' Day (2001). His books of travel writing, Roads to Santiago (1997) and Roads to Berlin (2012) have become backlist classics.

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