Nine Open Arms

Part One. “The walls were whitewashed. The timber floor was bare.  As if the room was waiting to be ours.”

Imagine yourself in a familiar setting, yet strange. A house somewhat sunken into the ground. A door is not a door. All is not what it appears. Sunlight can easily stream in through the windows with rainbow colors reflecting off of the dust motes, as rain water can easily pour and ping into the many rooms leaving dark and dim patches. It is magical. Often, eerie. This is where the father of a rag-tag family lives – he, ever the optimist, his sons almost doltish, while grandmother and daughters face the hard tasks that lie ahead.  The mother is dead – of course. Familiar? “A fairy tale by Grimm”, you declare!  No. novel by Benny Lindelauf, and translated from the Dutch (with extreme sensitivity) by John Nieuwenhuizen. It is not an American story in the best sense of the word. There is no predictability despite given time periods in the 1930’s; it is the story line’s uncertainty and the wrapping around of your tongue to pronounce the sounds of the words, that draws you into this foreign place. 

Intrigue. This is the force that propelled me into the world of The Nine Arms – delightful, unusual, and unnerving. Bliss to any reader of any age.

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