All Soul's Day by Cees Nooteboom

All Soul's Day

Cees Nooteboom

I did not find this an easy novel to get into but once past the first 20 pages I was hooked by the slow, meandering style, the eccentric cast of characters, the wonderful Berlin setting and a novel that dares to explore the big questions in life.

Extract

Once in a while there it was - a light that threw everything into such sharp relief that the sky seemed about to break, like crystal. Potsdamer Platz was now a wide open plain, transformed by the thick layer of frozen snow on the bulldozers into a cubist landscape. He let the camera roll, struggling against the reflected light. There wasn't a trace of last night left. The policewoman, the ambulance - none of that had happened. Only a few hundred feet of obscure, jerky film remained. Now he'd have to find a way through the fence again. Somebody had shut it. He tried to yank it open, but only succeeded in losing his balance on the ice. This time he was the one who banged his head. He grabbed his camera to protect it, fell on his back to the frozen ground, and felt something slip out of his pocket. He tried to scrabble to his feet, but wound up sitting on his knees and staring at a picture of Thomas that had slid out of his wallet - his son smiling up at him from a passel of credit cards .... This was no coincidence. The dead refused to leave him in peace.

Parallels
  • Authenticity by Deirdre Madden
  • The South by Colm Toibin