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Nyx Book Reviews

I love to read and to review. My favourite genres are fantasy, horror, YA, historical, and everything paranormal.

Een sterke man / druk 1

Een sterke man - Renate Dorrestein Had to read this for school. I don't really like Dutch books because they only revolve around sex most of the time, but this one was actually quite okay. The story starts with Barbara, a sculptress, sitting in a plane to Ireland, to stay at the Kerrimagannagh villa, where only the greatest of arts get to stay to make their best work. Barbara is really surprised to be invited, as her work was slashed by an Irish critic, Sister Nancy.The book then follows four female narrators, that tell an invisible third person what happened at Kerrimagannagh. There has been a horrible death; but who died doesn't get revealed until the very last pages. Who did it, or even if someone did it, never gets clear, but anyone who paid some attention to details can decide what happened.Very noteworthy is the returning theme of physical defects. Almost every person in this book has one, even the acclaimed perfect Stephen. And if there is no physical defect, there is a mental one. Something that also stands out is the guilt that many characters have. I did some research and apparently Dorrestein's sister killed herself, and Dorrestein still feels guilty about this. She wrote "Een Sterke Man" in a darker period, when she also experienced misunderstanding from her environment because of her chronic illness.There is also an underlying feminist theme, as all the women start to worship the "strong man" Stephen, but in the end realise he is nothing more but a pathetic little man that likes to play god. Although this is quite a sombre story, it is still quite enjoyable at times, 'cause of the straightforward and sometimes ironic writing style. It was also very clever that the author decided to keep secret who was killed until the very end; that really builds some tension. Most of the characters were fleshed out well, with tragic histories and all, but the four narrating women looked too much alike. They all thought and acted and felt the same way; if they had some behavioural differences, they would have felt more realistic.