"De passievrucht" by Karel Glastra van Loon - Dutch literature that is translated

Passievrucht is the Dutch name for the maracuja fruit, the fruit of the Passion Flower. But a fruit of passion, the result of sex, is a child. And that is what this novel is about. The novel was a huge success in The Netherlands but was also for many years the most translated Dutch novel.

In the story a 36-years old editor of biological texts, Armin, and his partner want a baby and because that baby is not manifesting itself they visit a fertility specialist. The doctor tells them that the man is infertile. But how is that possible as he has a 13 year old son? The only solution is that that son is not his. He however cannot ask his former girlfriend and the mother of the son as she has been dead for over 10 years.

So Armin starts to wonder who could have been the father. He is also reflecting on his past and so we get to know his dead girlfriend Monica who definitely was his great love, their parents, and a whole lot about nature, fishing and biology because that is what father and son are interested in.

A main theme is if a person is formed by nature or nurture.

For a book with passion in the tittle there is not really passion in the story. Yes sex is often mentioned but in a very clinical and crude way. Armin is also completely focussed on if the woman climaxed.

So if you are a prudish American this will be a shock. We Dutch people are "recht voor zijn raap" and "noemen man en paard" meaning we just tell it as it is. However although passion is often referred to there are no sexscenes like you can find in American romance novels. So maybe we Dutch are more prudes than you would expect.

I was given the pocket by a friend who was clearing her house. I am not the biggest fan of Dutch literature but this one got me hooked. A good mystery and loads of interesting interludes with nerdy facts.

The author was a journalist who wrote columns and died young from a brain tumour. You can see he wrote a lot of non-fiction before trying his hand on a novel.


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