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On the Water Paperback – Apr 4 2002


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Paperback, Apr 4 2002
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 134 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Pr; Reprint edition (April 4 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802138950
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802138958
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 14.3 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 172 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #81,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Rowing is a sport in which the athletes on a given team are so tightly intertwined that, during optimal performance, total synchronization occurs. The mental bond that exists between good rowers is a powerful one, and van den Brink's tight, precise novel, set in 1939 as two young men undergo rigorous crew training on a river in Holland, offers a beautiful example of one such union. The book's narrator is Anton, a reserved teenager whose father works in the town's train depot. Anton's working-class parents do not understand or fully support his commitment to the sport, but nonetheless he throws himself into an arduous routine of rowing, running and lifting weights all in an effort to cement his relationship with David, his two-man craft's other rower. Van den Brink presents David as Anton's antithesis: self-assured and affluent. David is completely at ease with the sport's highbrow, country club culture, and although the author does not provide much character detail, it is plain there is a sort of hierarchy in the boat, with David as leader and Anton as disciple, obsessively striving to please. Van den Brink shuttles between intimate descriptions of the duo's grueling practice sessions and races, and Anton's reminiscences many years later when he revisits the abandoned boathouse. This is a sensitively written and finely tuned work.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A novel of extraordinary subtlety from readers and writers alike have much to learn... This is a marvellous book, in every respect. -- Daily Mail, 2001

An impressively sustained evocation of a lost time and lost happiness... A daring first novel. -- Times Literary Supplement, 2001

Rarely have sport and literature combined so seamlessly to produce such an absorbing and satisfying novel as this small miracle of a book. -- The Guardian, 2001 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Format: Paperback
Anton lives in a new neighbourhood near the Amstel river in Amsterdam in the 1930's. From his early childhood onwards, the river attracts him and when he is about 14 years' old he becomes a member of the rowing club on the other side of the Amstel. Anton is an outsider: the other member are from higher social classes, his father works in the public transport branch. He is also an outsider in other aspects: he observes the others and doubts himself.
But then one day the eccentric Dr. Schneiderhahn chooses Anton and David for the coxless two. In Anton's view David is his very antipole: he is self-confident and outgoing. Slowly but surely the two boys become a perfect team. In the summer of 1939 they start competition rowing and they win one race after another. It becomes more and more apparent that they have a chance to participate in the 1940 Olympics in Finland. At the end of the year they promise each other to go on as a team in the next year.
The book is written as a oppressive retrospective of Anton who finds himself on the pier of the derelict rowing club in 1944. the reader knows what has happened between 1939 and 1944 and the typically Jewish name David strongly suggests that history has not been kind to him. A beautiful book in sensitive prose.
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Format: Hardcover
Anton lives in a new neighbourhood near the Amstel river in Amsterdam in the 1930's. From his early childhood onwards, the river attracts him and when he is about 14 years' old he becomes a member of the rowing club on the other side of the Amstel. Anton is an outsider: the other member are from higher social classes, his father works in the public transport branch. He is also an outsider in other aspects: he observes the others and doubts himself.
But then one day the eccentric Dr. Schneiderhahn chooses anton and David for the coxless two. In Anton's view David is his very antipole: he is self-confident and outgoing. Slowly but surely the two boys become a perfect team. In the summer of 1939 they start competition rowing and they win one race after another. It becomes more and more apparent that they have a chance to participate in the 1940 Olympics in Finland. At the end of the year they promise each other to go on as a team in the next year.
The book is written as a oppressive retrospective of Anton who finds himself on the pier of the derelict rowing club in 1944. the reader knows what has happened between 1939 and 1944 and the typically Jewish name David strongly suggests that history has not been kind to him. A beautiful book in sensitive prose.
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By Grady Harp TOP 100 REVIEWER on Sept. 12 2001
Format: Hardcover
When an author can create a completely absorbing novel, peopled with finely tuned characters that stir us with tension and competition and longing, a novel that uses as its base a sport that few readers know enough about to connect, then that author has displayed credentials of an impressive talent. ON THE WATER spends alomst every page in the preparation, practice and execution of a two man crew boat. He gradually pulls us into that boat with an understanding of the rules of the game and the rigors of the men who row. Then, subtly and with great tenderness he unveils his two young men of polar diferences and weaves a story of the power of sporting competion and the greater power of finding a soulmate. This bonding between lower class gentile Anton and upper class Jew David is engineered by a German Doctor in 1939. This beautiful story of an exploration of place and love is set in the last summer before Hitler destroys Europe. We are left to guess the fate of David while we discover the solitary wandering Anton who tells the story five years later along the banks of the river where they spent the most beautiful time of their lives. This novel gleams with magical poetry and introduces an author (and translator) who seems destined to find an important role in the 21st Century of literature. Read this book!
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