Lead Review

  • Book: 533: A Book of Days
  • Location: Sant Lluís
  • Author: Cees Nooteboom

Review Author: Tina Hartas



From the opening page, the veteran author’s lightness of touch is evident: Nooteboom is a writer who can butterfly across themes and delve in to draw out the thought provoking nectar.

The cactuses in his garden in Menorca give him pause for thought. The shades of green, the spines and the simple eye catching sturdiness allow his mind to wander this way and that. His descriptive talents and reflective prose take the reader from his garden, across the windy island, back to Europe and beyond.

He muses on authors and literature, on politics and news, and upon the simple pleasures of life. There are filmic dreams to be prised open and examined, and further discourse to be had on how the images are assembled in the deepest subconscious; and where they might have found their inspiration.

A butterfly pair alights on the beautiful entrance gate to his property, only to discover they are incomers and dangerous to certain plants. Can he contemplate ‘despatching’ these eye catching creations of nature in order to preserve his garden? The wild tortoises wander around, nibbling his beloved cacti and he is alert to the dulcet, sonorous calling of his neighbour’s cockerel.

This is almost one long passage – penned over 533 days – a stream of consciousness, a collection of the musings of a creative, experienced and intelligent mind. On occasion the writing and thinking become quite dense, as he disappears down various rabbit holes of thought, but overall this is an open invitation to readers to loop into his life and share his insightful ramblings and observations. A lovely treatise on life and Menorca.

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