To gently provoke

Nooteboom

Alberto Manguel provides the introduction to Cees Nooteboom’s latest book, Letters to Poseidon, and one can see why. Nooteboom has a curiosity about the world that is akin to Manguel’s. Here Nooteboom indulges in little speculations dressed as letters to the god Poseidon. They are short, light-hearted chapters, perhaps deceptively so, because underneath is a desire to understand the world. He describes sitting in a café, or enduring a thunderstorm, which, apart from delivering a sense of his Mediterranean locale, seem like thoughts tossed to the breeze, but they are intended just to gently provoke, and are refreshingly contrary in spirit to much literature which endeavours over-eagerly to explain at length, cover all bases, untie each knot, block all escape routes.

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