How to write about Cees Nooteboom, so keen to roam around the world and dive into a large bunch of languages? Dutch is not mastered at all, German would be too unstable for a proper post, French wouldn’t be understood if any dutch reader’d pass by.
Let’s follow what can be read in Nomad’s Hotel (according to this post from the Joys of Living blog, as the CN’s book Nootebooms hotel is yet to be read),
‘Why do you do so much travelling?’ This is the question Cees Nooteboom has been asked most often. In ‘In het oog van de storm’ (In the eye of the storm), the opening essay of Nootebooms Hotel (Nomad’s Hotel, 2002), he quotes Ibn al-Arabi, a twelfth-century Arabian philosopher, who wrote that a voyage ‘is so called because it reveals people’s characters, or, to put it more simply, for the person who travels alone: On a journey you get to know yourself.’ From the same essay: ‘Maybe the real traveller is always in the eye of the storm. The storm is the world; the eye is that with which he views it. In the eye it is quiet and anyone who is in that place can make out things that pass by people who stay at home.’
Words and worlds are intertwined, as CS speaks in as least as many languages:
– Native Dutch: about his recent writings about the history and mind of Europe, curated by SPUI25.nl.
– English: about his The Foxes Come At Night in a double-part interview (part 1 + part 2) by MacLehose Press.
– German: reading himself his Schiffstagebuch, curated by Suhrkamp.
– Spanish: for whoever passers-by understand it, in a long interview by Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW – Radio Nederland Wereldomroep).
And languages are not tangled with words only. He writes books with his wife Simone Sassen, who is a photographer. Quoting the Joys of Living blog once more:
‘The travel writer may best be compared to a photographer,’ wrote Nooteboom in 1982 in the Holland Herald, KLM’s in-flight magazine. ‘Photography is a more intense way of “looking”. No photographer simply travels. He cannot allow himself the luxury of just looking around. He does not see landscapes; he sees photographs, images of reality as it might appear in a photograph.
– Werken van CN (Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren).
– CS chez WebOL, principalement en français – Pourquoi voyager ? | La nuit vivent les mots | C. Nooteboom + J. M. Coetzee | Roth x Coetzee | Nooteboom cum laude | Le sceau de Nooteboom.
– Foxes – Renards ? Une note ici-même en français sur le livre La nuit viennent les renards (‘s Nachts komen de vossen).
– Photography & travel – Photographie & voyage ? Luc en français aussi chez EcritOL.
(Clin de clic à lLNdV).