3.0 out of 5 stars
over the top, Oct 7 2002
I never understood why 'The Sorrow of Belgium/Het verdriet van België' created such a fuzz in the Dutch language community (Flanders + The Netherlands). Possibly, the fact that it was a 'must reed' in school, makes that I'm not that overwhelmed by it.
Mind you, it certainly isn't a bad novel, but (from my point of view) it isn't the highlight of twentieth-century Dutch literature that some people say it is. It does help to understand the Flemish feelings towards 'higher authorities' (like Belgium, like the (catholic) church), and maybe (given the correct interpretation of the whole background regarding the German occupation of Belgium during WWII) it can give this novell an universal angle.
I would like to point out that Hugo Claus is a much better poet than he is a novellist. If he'll ever get the Nobel Prize (for the last ten years his name is mentionned), it should be for his poetry, which is (without any exeption) extraordinary and amazing. Obvious problem: it's easier to translate a novell than a poem...