De Nederlandse schrijfster Hella Haasse werd geboren op 2 februari 1918 in Batavia. Zie ook alle tags voor Hella Haasse op dit blog.
Uit: Gentlemen of Tea (Vertaald doorJane Fenoulhet)
“He stood at the edge of the jungle in the deep, cool shade. Patches of sunlight dappled the ground at his feet. When he looked up he could see the fierce gleam of the midday sky behind the mass of foliage moving above him. The ground was still damp from the last rainfall. He inhaled the smell of greenness, of Gambung. He heard the wind whispering in the treetops, a rustling and a soft cracking and creaking from within the tangle of vegetation.
A stone with her name and dates had been set into the stonework before him. The stone to the right bore no name. A little further was another grave without a stone. Forty-five years ago, on this spot among the trees, he had planted his first tea.
He leaned on the walking stick which for some time now he had been unable to do without. The dull, gnawing sensation deep inside him was not a pain – not yet. He knew it would always be there, that something (he didn’t know the name of his illness) was consuming him from within, was hollowing him out. The limits of his existence had come into view. This would be his last visit to Gambung.
For a year he had been living in Bandung with Bertha, in the house he had bought there in 1907, but had never moved into. The tenant had handed it over to him temporarily. Not far from there his third stone-built house, a grand edifice where Jenny would have been happy, with spacious verandahs, high ceilings, marble floors, was taking shape. Disguising the seriousness of his condition, he had taken a trip to Batavia together with Bertha, to order the furniture and lamps that Jenny would have chosen. The house stood in splendid grounds called Kebun Karet which the local population revered as an almost holy place because of a group of ancient waringin trees which grew there. He would leave this white house, built in a balanced, modern style, to his children, a place where they could meet one another when they came to the town from Gambung, Malabar or Negla: a Kerkhoven family house, a Netherlands Indies ‘Hunderen’.
He was here to say goodbye to Gambung. One last time he had gone round the factory, that row of sheds with their new machines for withering, drying and sorting. Among the people working there he had seen men and women who had grown up in Gambung village, children of Martasan and Muhiam and Kaidan and Muntayas and Sastra, the first inhabitants.”
Hella Haasse (2 februari 1918 – 29 september 2011)
Hier met Godfried Bomans op een boekenmarkt in 1966
Continue reading “Hella Haasse, Willem van Zadelhoff, Esther Gerritsen, Kees Torn, Norbert Bugeja, James Joyce, Eriek Verpale, Santa Montefiore, Monica Camuglia”