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AMSTERDAM by Manfred Wolf

AMSTERDAM

A Traveler’s Literary Companion

edited by Manfred Wolf

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-883513-09-X

Readers’ groups ought to check out this publisher’s series of geographically focused anthologies, which offer lively piecemeal portrayals of various faraway places in attractive, inexpensive volumes. This seventh in the series ranges from the travel essay (novelist Cees Nooteboom’s lyrical “Amsterdam”) to the humorous sketch (Simon Carmiggelt’s Sholom Aleichem–like “Chickens”) to fully developed stories and excerpts from longer works. The latter, which vividly evoke a city of contrasts (mainly of the old and the new) with a reputation for “tolerance and rationality,” include knowing glimpses of bourgeois and artistic circles (Marion Bloem’s “A Pounding Heart” and J. Bernlef’s “The Three Galleries,” respectively), slices of contemporary gay life (Bas Heijne’s subtly understated “Flesh and Blood”), and plangent illustrations of the lingering aftermath of world war (Gerard Rev’s unforgettable “The Decline of the Boslowits Family”). Another inviting and instructive Companion from Whereabouts.