Wonder by Hugo ClausWonder by Hugo Claus


byHugo ClausTranslated byMichael Heim

Paperback | May 8, 2009

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While exposing the remains of Flemish fascism twenty years after the War, Wonder tracks one man's descent into madness. Victor, a bewildered teacher, pursues a mysterious woman to a castle in a remote village. There he finds himself trapped among a handful of desperate individuals still living out their collaboration with the Nazis. As Victor's sanity begins to crumble, he poses as an expert on their messianic leader, who disappeared at the Russian front but whose return they believe imminent. The rich cadences of the prose and dense emotional texture of characters lost in complex moral labyrinths make Wonder a symphony only Claus could have composed.
The prose, poetry, and paintings of Hugo Claus (1929-2008) were as influential as they were groundbreaking. His novels include The Sorrow of Belgium, his magnum opus of postwar Europe, as well as Desire, The Swordfish, Mild Destruction, Rumors, and The Duck Hunt. His corpus of poetry is immense and stunningly diverse. Claus's painting ...
Title:WonderFormat:PaperbackDimensions:338 pages, 6 × 6 × 0.88 inPublished:May 8, 2009Publisher:Steerforth PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0980033012

ISBN - 13:9780980033014

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Read from the Book

The teacher walked the twenty feet from his room to the elevator in wonder. Waited at the latticework of the cage. Stuck three fingers through the mesh.(This is a beginning. In the hallway redolent of belladonna. And just as one has a chance of winning the lottery if one buys all the tickets, there is the chance of an end.)There was no sound but the rumble of the elevator. No, not the shuffle of floral-patterned, rubber-soled slippers along the wine-red runner leading from the gypsy woman’s room to the elevator shaft, expressly, so it seemed, for her tiny, swift, perpetually unwashed feet in those mules with the violets embroidered on them.

Editorial Reviews

Winner of PEN Translation Prize 2010Claus rages against the decay of the physical self while desire remains untamed. From the beginning, his poetry has been marked by an uncommon mix of intelligence and passion, given expression in a medium over which he has such light-fingered control that art becomes invisible. —J.M. Coetzee While fully aware that such an honorable title can only be used in great exceptions in Flemish literature, I would call Wonder a masterpiece. —Paul de Wispelaere, Vlaamse Gids Claus's work is just as broad as the soul is deep. —Gerrit Komrij The greatest writer of my generation. —Remco Campert Fine and ambitious . . . A work of savage satire intensely engaged with the moral and cultural life of the author’s Belgium . . . Packed with asides, allusions, and fierce juxtapositions, a style created to evoke a world sliding into chaos where contrast and contradictions are so grotesque that we can only ‘wonder’. . . . [Wonder is] a reminder of the energy and experimental verve with which so many writers of the Fifties and Sixties (Malaparte, Bernhard, Grass, Böll, Burgess, Pynchon) conjured up [a] disjointed and rapidly complicating world. —The New York Review of Books To speak today of a still largely-unknown major work on European Fascism . . . seems presumptuous, rather like announcing the existence of, if not a new continent, at least a land mass of strange and significant proportions. But in discussing Wonder, it would be churlish not to admit to an explorer’s exhilaration at discovery. —The National