Gerard Reve - The Evenings
When the novel The Evenings first appeared, Reve was hailed as ‘the voice of a generation’. Since then the book has become a modern classic, continuing to appeal to each succeeding generation. The book revolves around Frits van Egters, twenty-three years old and with a boring office job. The ten chapters depict the last ten days of the year, which Frits spends with his family, office colleagues and friends.
Van Egters observes his parents with a mixture of compassion and ruthless precision. It is the business-like commentary on daily rituals and the practical jokes he and his friends play that make the story so funny, although the humor does have a double edge. Frits’s nightmares, his constant registering of the hopeless passage of time and his declaration of love for the only creature that can ease his loneliness, a stuffed toy rabbit, come from another world.
The Evenings is a novel in which a young man attempts to exorcise the meaninglessness of his existence, just as the author tried to do through his literary work.
Gerard Reve’s (1923) most widely read book is The Evenings.The much reprinted and controversial epistolary books On the Way to the End (1963) and Nearer to Thee (1966), in which Reve spoke openly about his homosexuality and his conversion to Catholicism, were instrumental in establishing the author as a public figure in the Netherlands. Over the years he has published many autobiographical epistolary books and several novels, including Mother and Son (1980) and Parents Worry (1989). Reve was awarded the P.C. Hooft Prize in 1968 and the Prize of Dutch Letters in 2001.
- ‘One of the great stylists of modern Dutch literature.’ – The Times Literary Supplement
- ‘Reve’s novel became a bible for a new generation. The book was reprinted more than fifty times and is still regarded as one of the most important Dutch novels to be written since 1945.’ – Trouw