Thomas Rosenboom - Point Shoes
Thomas Rosenboom’s novella Point Shoes is set in contemporary Amsterdam. Its watertight structure and plot ensure that this story of the love of the apparently dull Bijman for Esther, a woman he meets at tango lessons, will continue to haunt the reader. As with other heroes in Rosenboom’s books, developments run away with Bijman (the name means, literally, secondary man), a lonely figure for whom life only becomes exciting when he meets Esther.
Unfortunately his love is unrequited and she declares almost immediately that she is in love ‘with an Indian’. Esther tries to keep Bijman at a distance when Shanna, her friend from India, actually shows up in Amsterdam. But keeping Bijman at a distance turns out to be more difficult than she expected. He has become obsessed, checking every evening whether the light in her room is on, and on one occasion even breaking into her house and stealing her point shoes. Without realizing it, he has become a stalker.
Rosenboom succeeds making the reader laugh throughout as well as keeping him in suspense about the outcome of Bijman’s abominable bungling. The nuances of the book make it both cruel and tender, funny and tragic.
Thomas Rosenboom (1956) made his debut in 1983 with a collection of short stories called Those at Home, for which he received the Van der Hoogt Prize. Two years later he published the novel Honorable Friend and ten years after that he astonished both critics and readers with Washed Flesh (1994) and Public Works (1999). Both were awarded the prestigious Libris Literature Prize. The magic of Rosenboom’s novels rests on a number of classical literary devices perfectly deployed. His most recent novel is Sweet Mouth (2009).
- ‘With evident and contagious pleasure, Rosenboom lets his initially unworldly protagonist become more and more human in this novella, which reaches climax after climax of dramatic irony.’ – Vrij Nederland
- ‘A very entertaining love story alternating seriousness and humour.’ – De Telegraaf