CHEESE. Willem Elsschot, Author, Paul Vincent, Translator, trans. from the Dutch by Paul Vincent. Granta $ (p) ISBN X. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of Cheese by Willem Elsschot. Cheese. Willem Elsschot. Since its publication in English in , ‘Cheese’ has conquered the world with translations in almost 30 languages. The novella deals .

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Elsschot is one of the greatest twentieth-century Dutch-language writers and generation after generation has had the pleasure of rediscovering his small but masterly oeuvre. The book’s poker-faced humor falls a bit flat in translation, though Laarmans’s ordeal makes for nail-biting reading, and Elsschot’s class commentary is astute.

I said and still hold by it that humour is hard to translate, in parts it works. It can be read in two willej, perhaps less.

Paul Vincent is an able translator. Alfons de Ridder, the head of a successful advertising agency, had never said a word about his writing at home. Willem Elsschot Willem Elsschot was the pen name of Alphonsus Josephus de Ridder, an Antwerp advertising executive who became an icon of Flemish literature. His concise, witty and often cynical novels satirize the mundanity of twentieth-century life and are cherished throughout Belgium and Holland. Translated by Sander Berg.

A decent satire of the business world general enough to ring true even todayCheese also isn’t that ambitious, but the pleasure is to be found in the tone, the nicely set scenes domestic and professionaland the constant small failures Laarmans endures.

Cheese is a full-fat Edam. He soon finds himself submerged in a bureaucratic nightmare as his complete incompetence becomes apparent. It turns out that his reason for leave of absence, neurosis, is an apt description of Laarmans.

Cheese: A Novel by Willem Elsschot review – self-improvement through edam

Cheese may be a light alternative to those serious, weighty tomes everyone’s dragging along on vacation. His co-workers, or possibly ex-co-workers, paint a vivid picture of the excitement he is missing. In the words of his fellow writer Louis Paul Boon: By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. I suspect that there is a bit of Laarmans in everyone. A Novel is published by Alma.

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Originally published inthis classic Dutch comedy tells the tale of a determined but misguided marine shipping clerk enmeshed in a cumbersome cheese-centered farce.

But Mr Van Schoonbeke could own his car if he wished, and no one knows this better than his friends. He spends ages thinking up a name for his company, trying to find a typewriter, marvelling at his new telephone, writing advertisements for agents his own adverts impress him so much he feels like answering them himself.

Silent Extras Alexander Ikonnikov: Laarmans is a character that Elsschot used in his other big novel and again in his other books he wrotehe was considered to be semi biographical reflection of the man himself.

He places an ad for salesmen, but he never sells cheese, a product that he eventually admits his dislike for. But as inept as cheese man he is, he is even more so as a delegate to the Department of Trade.

I elaschot sure it fully works when I first mentioned I was reading this a connection on twitter said they had thrown it to one side half read. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.

He spends most of his time worrying about naming his company and setting up his office, rather than actually selling any cheese. Laarmans isn’t fond of cheese—upon visiting a elaschot shop, he observes, “The Roqueforts and Gorgonzolas lewdly flaunted their mould, and a squadron of Camemberts let their pus ooze out freely”—but he is willing to snatch at any opportunity to escape his drab job at the shipping yards and enhance his social standing.

He translates Elsschot economically and tersely with relatively few Briticisms, and those that do appear shouldn’t distract American readers whatsoever. In an odd move, Vincent places “The Author’s Original Preface” after the novel’s last chapter, giving the impression of a modernistic coda. You are commenting using your Twitter account. Blog Statshits. In the meantime, 10, wheels of Edam are delivered.


Upon his wife’s advice, Laarmans asks his brother, a doctor, to give him a certificate for a leave of absence due to medical reasons. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. Eventually, he makes a small sale of two cases to the cheeseshop, leaving him wil,em with tons in storage.

Cheese – Willem Elsschot

But, before he can start selling cheese, he has to set up his office. Ida de Ridder published her memoirs of her father Alfons de Ridder, the man who gained fame as a writer under the pseudonym Willem Elsschot Although I only have a rough idea of how old exactly. Laarmans is saddled with a consignment of cases containing ten thousand full-cream Edam cheeses. For the ensuing weeks, he tracks down office supplies–second-hand desks, typewriters, a telephone–and gets his office arranged.

As poignant as it is funny, Cheese will appeal to anyone who has suffered the endless indignities of office life. In fact, it heightens the realism. Until its publication he had been a relatively unnoticed writer whose work fell outside the prevailing literary fashions.

Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. I feel there is another level that maybe we miss that is some what Belgium humourI was reminded of what Jonathan meades observations about the odd ways belgium is so different yet so close to us the quirky way they have small museums for everything and the way each street is individual in their look.

Show 25 25 50 All. But if I don’t launch straight into it, then perhaps they’ll ask, ‘How can I help you, sir?