March 2010

Cheese by Willem Elsschot

How's this for the cute and funny read of the week? The story in question is the short little novel called Cheese by Willem Elsschot. This novel dates back to 1933 when it was first published in Dutch. It was a big hit when it came out and, as after being translated into other languages, it has developed a fanbase in other countries as well.

Alright, so maybe it is not entirely accurate to refer to this story as cute. Certainly, it has its moments and will make you chuckle, especially as you read more about the antics of the main protagonist. However, the story also has its share of incredibly touching moments, specifically when you find yourself identifying with the inner conflicts of the main character.

The story itself is quite simple.

La petite fille de Monsieur Linh

This book, roughly translated as Mr Linh's Granddaughter is a heartwarming story about compassion and friendship. It was written by French author, Phillipe Claudel, who has a flair for exploring the intricacies of human relationships and their connection to one another. This much was evident from his other well-known book, Les Âmes grises, and it is touched upon again in this sad story.

The story is about an asylum seeker called Linh. He has lost his entire family in a horrid war and is now in a foreign country. All that is left of his relatives is his tiny granddaughter. After losing all other members, the little kid now relies on him to teach her the ways of this world. Unfortunately, this is somewhat hard as Linh himself is standing at crossroads.