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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘The Interpreter From Java’
by Alfred Birney
Teaser Tuesday

An open book led on a table with a lilac flower resting on the open pages - featured image for Teaser Tuesday posts - caption reads 'Take A Look - Read The Book?'


This is a meme for all you page surfers out there!

Cover image of the book 'The Interpreter From Java' by author Alfred Birney



“The trunk in the basement”

A short flight of whitewashed steps led down from the street to Willem’s small front garden, with its assortment of dying trees, loose paving stones and car tyres. I would sit at a little table in his kitchen writing lyrics in colourful notebooks, reading books by the Russian masters or playing guitar. The kitchen window afforded a view of paint peeling off the wooden façade of the living room where Corrie sat and read her Bible, unless electric currents were coursing through her limbs, an affliction she insisted was the work of the Germans. Each morning, Willem put a fresh square of lino under her seat to stop the urine rotting the wood of her chair. She had  her good weeks, when she was able to do the housework and wash the sheets of their migrant lodgers. The room the six of them shared contained three bunk beds and was at the end of a long hallway accessed through the kitchen. They came from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, and adored Corrie for taking such good care of them. When she was ill and unable to clean up after them, they prayed for her. If it was a bad week, they would each give me a guilder to take their sheets to the launderette.

Cover image of the book 'The Interpreter From Java' by author Alfred Birney

If you still need to know more, check out those all important opening lines at ‘Book Beginnings On Friday

Just to help you get those words into some context – check out the premise below.


Cover image of the book 'The Interpreter From Java' by author Alfred BirneyArto Nolan is the father’s name; his son Alan strives to overcome his loathing and comprehend the man who abused him and beat his mother.

His father spent his evenings typing on his Remington. Later, Alan discovers his father had been working on his memoirs. He reads about Arto’s ruthless work as an interpreter who not only translated but also led interrogations, tortured prisoners, and did not hesitate to murder.

Arto’s passages are chilling in their detachment. He first describes how he was abused as a child by his own father. He later became an assassin. At first his targets were Japanese; after the occupation ended, he murdered Indonesians in the service of the Dutch, without question. The source of his loyalty to his overlords, from a country he had never seen, remains a mystery.

In this unsparing family history, Birney exposes a crucial chapter in Dutch and European history that was deliberately concealed behind the ideological facade of postwar optimism. Readers of this superb novel will find that it reverberates long afterwards in their memory.

Image of author Alfred Birney

The mem host image for Teaser Tuesday, updated December 2016 'The Purple Booker'

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Ambrosia at ‘The Purple Booker‘. Each week she shares her own teaser lines and invites other bloggers to do the same. So if you have a few moments, why not stop by and see what’s on offer this time, after all, you never know where that next great read is going to come from!

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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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Written by Yvonne