The Foxes Come at Night – Cees Nooteboom

The Foxes Come at Night is the second book I read by Cees Nooteboom after Mokusei! A Love Story. I liked Mokusei! so much that I thought I’d love The Foxes Come at Night too, but unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy his short stories as much as his novella. But I still think Nooteboom is a good author, and I think I read this book too early. I am sure that my mind will change when I read it later. I’ll feel different when I think more about death and loneliness.


The Foxes Come at Night - Cees Nooteboom

The Foxes Come at Night consists of short stories set on islands in the Mediterranean. Loneliness and death are always the main characters of these stories. There are always lost friends or lovers, and there are loneliness and individuality in the stories. Although the loneliness and the beautiful impression of the islands attracted me, I can say that it was extremely tiring for me to deal with a serious issue such as losing a loved one.

Maybe if I hadn’t read them one after another, I would have looked at The Foxes Come at Night from a different perspective, but I could not stop myself. Nevertheless, I would say don’t listen to me specifically for this author and check out his other books. Cees Nooteboom, one of the most famous authors in the Netherlands, is a must-read, in my opinion. Enjoy!

The Foxes Come at Night

The Foxes Come at Night

Set in the cities and islands of the Mediterranean, and linked thematically, the eight stories in The Foxes Come at Night read more like a novel, a meditation on memory, life and death. Their protagonists collect and reconstruct fragments of lives lived intensely, and now lost, crystallized in memory or in the detail of a photograph. And yet the tone of these stories is far from pessimistic: it seems that death is nothing to be afraid of.

Cees Nooteboom

Cees Nooteboom (Dutch pronunciation: [seːs noːtəboːm]; born 31 July 1933) is a Dutch novelist, poet, and journalist. After the attention received by his novel Rituelen (Rituals (1980), which received the Pegasus Prize, it was the first of his novels to be translated into an English edition, published in 1983 by Louisiana State University Press of the United States.

LSU Press published his first two novels in English in the following years, as well as other works through 1990. Harcourt (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and Grove Press have since published some of his works in English. Nooteboom has won numerous literary awards and has been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature.

Cornelis Johannes Jacobus Maria “Cees” Nooteboom was born on 31 July 1933 in The Hague, Netherlands. His father was killed there in 1945 by a British air raid during World War II.

After his mother remarried in 1948, his Catholic stepfather enrolled Nooteboom in several religious secondary schools, including a Franciscan school in Venray and a school run by the Augustinians in Eindhoven. He finished his secondary education at a night school in Utrecht.

After his first job with a bank in Hilversum, Nooteboom traveled throughout Europe. In addition to his independent writing, he worked for the weekly magazine, Elsevier, from 1957 to 1960, and at the newspaper de Volkskrant from 1961 to 1968. In 1967, he became the travel editor of the magazine Avenue.

In 1957 Nooteboom hired on as a sailor on a freighter to Surinam in order to earn money and ask for the hand of his first wife, Fanny Lichtveld. They married but later divorced in 1964. Some of his travel experiences are recounted in the book De verliefde gevangene (1958).

He was also in a relationship with the singer, Liesbeth List. Nooteboom is married to Simone Sassen and divides his time between Amsterdam and the island of Menorca.

Nooteboom’s first novel, Philip en de anderen (Philip and the Others, 1988 English translation), was published in 1954 and won the Anne Frank Prize. His second novel, De ridder is gestorven (1963) (The Knight Has Died, English edition, 1990) was his last for 17 years. During that period, he was working for publications and writing poetry and travel books.

In 1980, his third novel Rituelen (Rituals, 1983) brought him wide acclaim in the Netherlands, winning the Pegasus Prize. It was his first novel to be translated into English and was published by Louisiana State University Press, which published two of his earlier novels in English, as well as others through 1990.

Other novels include Een lied van schijn en wezen (A Song of Truth and Semblance, 1984); Allerzielen (1998)(All Souls’ Day, 2001), and Paradijs verloren (Paradise Lost, 2007). His best-known work to English-speaking audiences is perhaps The Following Story (Het volgende verhaal, 1991), which was written for the Dutch Boekenweek in 1991. It won the Aristeion Prize in 1993.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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