The Evenings
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The Evenings

3.5 (6,309 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'I work in an office. I take cards out of a file. Once I have taken them out, I put them back in again. That is it.'


Twenty-three-year-old Frits - office worker, daydreamer, teller of inappropriate jokes - finds life absurd and inexplicable. He lives with his parents, who drive him mad. He has terrible, disturbing dreams of death and destruction. Sometimes he talks to a toy rabbit.


This is the story of ten evenings in Frits's life at the end of December, as he drinks, smokes, sees friends, aimlessly wanders the gloomy city streets and tries to make sense of the minutes, hours and days that stretch before him.


Darkly funny and mesmerising, The Evenings takes the tiny, quotidian triumphs and heartbreaks of our everyday lives and turns them into a work of brilliant wit and profound beauty.


"The funniest, most exhilarating novel about boredom ever written. If The Evenings had appeared in English in the 1950s, it would have become every bit as much a classic asOn the Road and The Catcher in the Rye." Herman Koch, author of The Dinner


"Unlike John Williams, Gerard Reve's work was critically acclaimed and sold exceptionally well during his lifetime. But, just like Stoner, The Evenings is brilliantly written, and has a maximum impact on the reader's soul." Oscar van Gelderen, the Dutch publisher who rediscovered John Williams's Stoner


"Very funny and strange... Reve is a writer who may yet 'catch on' in the Anglophone world" Lydia Davis, winner of the Man Booker International Prize



Gerard Reve (1923-2006) is considered one of the greatest post-war Dutch authors, and was also the first openly gay writer in the country's history. A complicated and controversial character, Reve is also hugely popular and critically acclaimed- his 1947 debut The Evenings was chosen as one of the nation's 10 favourite books by the readers of a leading Dutch newspaper while the Society of Dutch Literature ranked it as the Netherlands' best novel of all time.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 30.48mm | 408.23g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1782271783
  • 9781782271789
  • 47,413

Review quote

I was also pleased to see Gerard Reve's funny, poignant debut novel, The Evenings, available in English... it's like BS Johnson and Kafka wandering the crepuscular streets of 1940s Amsterdam together - in a good way -- Alex Preston Observer Books of the Year 2016 A masterpiece... What can I say that will put this book where it belongs, in readers' hands and minds?... Reve keeps the reader breathless right through to the grand finale -- Tim Parks Guardian This much lauded book, finally available in English, [is] the perfect January read Spectator A masterwork of comic pathos... one of the finest studies of youthful malaise ever written... Should cause many readers to revise their opinions of The Catcher in the Rye. In all fairness to Salinger, The Evenings is so much better -- Eileen Battersby Irish Times Reve's keen eye for absurdity manages to cast the mundane in a new, albeit macabre, light Financial Times As funny as it is ultimately profound -- Eileen Battersby Irish Times Books of the Year 2016 This 1947 Dutch novel, considered the Netherlands' greatest in the 20th century... is a savage novel, full of strange, cold laughter Daily Mail The Evenings is packed with the minutiae of life: luckily, the minutiae are fascinating... Reve isn't the kind of novelist to give you a straightforward answer but the journey is quite a ride The Times Dark masterpiece... It is a powerful story of an alienated young office worker who is cynical about his loving, middle-class parents and friends Observer Fascinates the more you read of it... A fantastic novel -- Andre van Loon Sunday Telegraph Gives Kafka a run for his money... gripping, often very funny... bizarre, enchanting Big Issue An understated novel that's funny, bizarre and yet emotionally renewing Attitude The novel is dark, funny, unsettling and lingers vividly in the mind. Hats off to Pushkin Press and the outstanding translator, Sam Garrett, for making this odd, orphaned masterpiece available at last to an English-speaking readership Times Literary Supplement It is now time for a wider audience to discover its weird textures and dark delighs The National The funniest, most exhilarating novel about boredom ever written. If The Evenings had appeared in English in the 1950s, it would have become every bit as much a classic as On the Road and The Catcher in the Rye. -- Herman Koch, author of The Dinner Unlike John Williams, Gerard Reve's work was critically acclaimed and sold exceptionally well during his lifetime. But, just like Stoner, The Evenings is brilliantly written, and has a maximum impact on the reader's soul. -- Oscar van Gelderen, the Dutch publisher who rediscovered John Williams' Stoner Gerard Reve's sardonic classic The Evenings is finally translated into English Culturetrip This book, an important classic in the Netherlands and long, long overdue in English, is as funny as it is peculiar. Reve really deserves more attention in the Anglophone world -- Lydia Davis, winner of the Man Booker International Prize Fascinating, hilarious, and page-turning. The publication of this novel marks the exciting introduction of a wonderful writer to an Anglophone audience Publishers Weekly In this first English translation of a Dutch classic... The author's dry wit and ability to find humor and beauty in the banality of daily life are impressive Booklist Not much happens because not much is meant to happen, as if to say that apart from the occasional invasion by a malevolent neighbour life is pretty dull Kirkus This really is an excellent work Tony's Reading List (blog) The Evenings is softer and funnier than other postwar European masterpieces... A little masterpiece - a provocative reminder that life goes on even in the bleakest of circumstances Los Angeles Review of Books A canonical work of postwar European fiction... flares of pathos and despairing love light up the novel's empty nighttime landscape Wall Street Journal Reviewers have compared it favourably to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Albert Camus's The Stranger and Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle New York Times Captivating The Atlantic A masterpiece National Post Like Camus's The Plague, the strength of The Evenings lies in its evocation of atmosphere The Tablet 'Drily amusing, suffused with angst and post-war malaise and -- at first blush -- very impressive BookFilter Batavophile bookworms can rejoice now possibly the greatest Amsterdam novel is now available in English... for a testament to ennui it's strangely gripping A-Mag It's hard to believe it has taken 70 years for Gerard Reve's The Evenings to reach the English-speaking world... Reminiscent of Samuel Beckett, The Evenings is justly regarded by the Dutch as one of their greatest novels Sydney Morning Herald It's impossible to read Gerard Reve's portrayal of the battles between father and son for control of the radio or Frits' paranoia about his body, without laughing out loud. Impossible too not to find some vestiges of sympathy for this hapless, down-trodden specimen of a man BookerTalk (blog) Diabolically funny... From the deep midnight of shattered Europe, Reve crafted not only an existential masterwork worthy to stand with Beckett or Albert Camus, but an oblique historical testament The Economist It's a testament to Reve's writing and imagination that the question of Frits will haunt the reader long after they're finished Pop Matters
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About Gerard Reve

Gerard Reve (1923-2006) is considered one of the greatest post-war Dutch authors, and was also the first openly gay writer in the country's history. A complicated and controversial character, Reve is also hugely popular and critically acclaimed- his 1947 debut The Evenings was chosen as one of the nation's 10 favourite books by the readers of a leading Dutch newspaper while the Society of Dutch Literature ranked it as the Netherlands' best novel of all time.
show more

Rating details

6,309 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 22% (1,359)
4 33% (2,092)
3 26% (1,655)
2 13% (809)
1 6% (394)
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