One of the first books of Krabbe. He is an author, who would have preferred to have been a sportsman. He was one of the best chess players in the Netherlands, started as a cyclist on a later age and wasn’t even bad at amateur level. He wrote the best cycling book about one race, but also wrote “Het gouden ei” which was later turned into the movie ‘Spoorloos’ and even later into ‘The vanishing’. The book was brilliant.
He has been food for arguments at any schools, as teachers never knew if he qualified as literature. I always like reading his books, though I have to admit that I’m not as fanatic a follower anymore either.
The city in the Middle is a book with 5 stories. Independent of each other, though every single main character is called Louis Hanraads. So it could be five completely different episodes out the life of the same person. This simple trick makes it fun to read though, as you start comparing, if you want it or not. The first story, De paardentekenaar also became the title of a collection of his stories decades later. It is about a boy who could draw horses beautifully, though nothing else. How to cope with someone like that if you’re his teacher? My favourite story is the story about the chess journalist who goes to Reykjavik to cover a world championship match. Those old enough to remember know this is about the world famous Fisher-Spasski match. Though it is about chess, the real story is about him falling in love with an underage local girl.
Krabbe has been translated into several languages. Don’t let the fact that his brother became more famous as the actor Jeroen Krabbe put you of reading him.