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04 October 2010 @ 09:14 pm
R.I.P. Challenge book #2  

When I received it as a free book at the time, the only thing I knew about De grot (The Cave) by Tim Krabbé was that the plot involved drug smuggling. Not a subject that holds great appeal to me, and so the book sat unread on my shelf for almost 13 years, until I picked it up for this year's challenge.

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I already knew from Het gouden ei (
The Vanishing) that Krabbé is capable of writing a blood-curdling thriller, but still I was surprised by the high ratings The Cave had received on Amazon, and looked forward to reading it.

I am glad I didn't read any actual reviews beforehand, because most of them turned out to be very spoilerish, and this way I could discover and appreciate the story and structure of the book for myself.

I think "thriller" is a misnomer here. The first chapter, in which a character whiles away the hours until a drug transaction is planned to take place, contains tension enough, but The Cave is actually more a psychological novel about destructive friendship, fate and coincidence, and ultimately very sad.

I didn't find it particularly enjoyable, nor do I intend to reread it at some point, but the last chapters were beautiful enough that they earned the book an extra star.


Current Mood: melancholymelancholy
Current Music: Beg, steal or borrow - Ray LaMontagne
heartofdavid: bookshoppeheartofdavid on October 5th, 2010 12:18 pm (UTC)
Hmm. So it was more the lack of interest in the plot (or 'not-my-cup-of-teaness') than the actual writing which you didn't enjoy?
Mnemosyne: sad_lethe_ on October 5th, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC)
It's difficult to explain. I'm glad I read it, I just don't think I'll ever want to read it again.

The writing was good, and I liked the way the story unfolded, the book was cleverly constructed. It just made me very sad.

Fate and coincidence are important themes, as they are in The Vanishing as well, another book of his I don't want to reread either, even though it is a great thriller.

I'd say if your library has it, borrow it. It is a quick read and you may feel differently about the sadness. And the translator has good credentials, I hear.

Edited at 2010-10-05 01:09 pm (UTC)
Mnemosyne: whine_lethe_ on October 5th, 2010 01:22 pm (UTC)
Something I was suddenly reminded of
I don't know if you have ever read "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor. That story isn't anything like The Cave, but coincidence plays an important part in it as well. I was completely traumatized by it when I read it in my early twenties. It is a brilliant story, but I never want to read anything by O'Connor ever again.
heartofdavidheartofdavid on October 7th, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
Re: Something I was suddenly reminded of
I've never read that story, will have to look it up. I don't think I've ready anything my O'Connor...hmm.
Mnemosyne_lethe_ on October 7th, 2010 11:51 am (UTC)
Re: Something I was suddenly reminded of
If you like, you can read it online here. It is only a few pages.
heartofdavidheartofdavid on October 8th, 2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Something I was suddenly reminded of
Thanks for the link, I read the story. Very well written but very disturbing; how Misfit is so complacent with his explanation for his actions and how logical he sounds about it.