Publishod in I lull h In IBM Fora Lost Soldier received the Geertgan Lubborhui.. literary debut. The film of the book won the Hi".t I ilmaml Awlm Prize at Turin in. For a Lost Soldier is an artfully told story of love and loss du I managed to find the pdf of this book in Scribd after watching the film adapted from it. Beautiful. Get this from a library! For a lost soldier. Then a few years later some amazing person on IMDb had a pdf copy that they shared with me. The book was even.

For A Lost Soldier Pdf

Language:English, French, Dutch
Country:Dominican Republic
Published (Last):28.12.2015
ePub File Size:27.39 MB
PDF File Size:20.70 MB
Distribution:Free* [*Sign up for free]
Uploaded by: CARLENA

For a Lost Soldier is a Dutch film based upon the autobiographical novel of the same title . Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. For a Lost Soldier is an artfully told story of love and loss during wartime. The author skillfully creates the mood of uncertainty and lurking danger in the opening. For a Lost Soldier (Dutch title: Voor een Verloren Soldaat) is a Dutch /for- a-lost-soldier-by-rudi-van-dantzigpdfmeg?da=y.

Voor een Verloren Soldaat is a Dutch film based upon the autobiographical novel of the same title by ballet dancer and choreographer Rudi van Dantzig. The city suffers from food shortages, with more food available in the country. He stays with an eel fisher's family, but despite the abundance of food, he is plagued by homesickness. Jeroen and his friend Jan go to the ocean and see an American plane in the water; Jan tries to go under but claims there are too many eels and comes up with a big cut on his upper right thigh.

Things change when the village is liberated by Canadian troops. Jeroen revels in the attention the soldier showers on him, at first treating him like a little brother but eventually their relationship becomes sexual.

His foster parents are aware of the closeness between Jeroen and the soldier, but it is unclear in the film whether they are aware of the sexual nature of the relationship. After a few more days, Walt's troop are ordered to move and Walt leaves without saying goodbye to Jeroen. Dec 20, Lawrence Manglitz rated it it was amazing. I saw the movie several times, and came across a copy of the book through Barnes and Nobles. I had trouble ordering it -- trouble communicating with American Express, but I persisted and the book came yesterday.

What moved me in the film was the way Jerone was drawn to Walt and the boy's fear. Early in my own childhood I was attracted to some of the older boys in the small town where I lived.

And some of them flirted and encouraged me, but not with the magnetism and persistance of Walt. What the I saw the movie several times, and came across a copy of the book through Barnes and Nobles. Eventually it is clear that he has been a willing partner with Walt and has fallen in love with him. The boy's love intensifies after Walt leaves the small village where he has been posted in Holland.

For a lost soldier

I was amazed to discover that about a third of the novel is given over to the boy's experience when he returns to Amsterdam after the war is ended. It is in the last part of the novel that the reader is aware of a disconnectedness that emerges for Jerone; he looks for his former lover and feels detached from the life he has returned to.

His intensity borders on a mental collapse. At the end of the novel the reader encounters the strong impact of Walt on the boy. Jerone is an adult and in his remembrance of Walt and at the very end imagines his hand on his knee, in a sexual fantasy of his. The novel is a greater work. In that it is more complex. The reader doesn't have the happy conclusion of the lost soldier being found.

In when the Canadian soldiers return to Amsterdam to celebrate the Anniversary of the end of the war, Jerone makes an effort to locate Walt, but to no success. And the older Jerone is resolved to knowing the experience in reality is dead, the possiblity of a reunion is dead -- and ultimately his desire for the real find of the soldier is dead.

And the incredible romance is alive for him only in that mysterious and wonderful realm of remembrance, of imagination. The novel is superior to the film although that is quite lovely also.

Find a copy in the library

The book and the film have haunted me, with the sense of both the beauty and tragedy of life. The novel respresents a familiar story for the gay man, who loved in his childhood. A finely crafted novel -- compelling.

I think one of the very finest gay novels that I have read. Larry Manglitz Jul 14, Ogier rated it it was amazing. For a Lost Soldier Rudi van Dantzig If it weren't for the taboo subject matter this book would have gotten the praise and honor it deserves.

Rudi van Dantzig has brilliantly evoked his childhood memories in the extraordinary situation he found himself at age 11 or 12 adrift in a strange culture, the people of Norther Holland spoke a dialect which I think was a mix of Dutch and English if I remember correctly, and as WW2 in Europe was in its final stages with the Germans in retreat, he was able to For a Lost Soldier Rudi van Dantzig If it weren't for the taboo subject matter this book would have gotten the praise and honor it deserves.

Rudi van Dantzig has brilliantly evoked his childhood memories in the extraordinary situation he found himself at age 11 or 12 adrift in a strange culture, the people of Norther Holland spoke a dialect which I think was a mix of Dutch and English if I remember correctly, and as WW2 in Europe was in its final stages with the Germans in retreat, he was able to received no mail from his parents who had sent him along with other children as the farms there were able to provide food that was scarce in Amsterdam.

He assumed he had been abandoned and mistook the molestation for love and decided he would be traveling with the soldier when his unit marched on. His anguish when the man disappears never to be found despite a desperate search in Amsterdam is hard to read.

Because of this, I was very reluctant to download it, fearing its contents would not be worth the price. However, I received this book from my mother for my birthday in and, since then, it has become one of my favorites. This story holds a startling but brilliant social commentary, ranging from relationships to war to poverty.

Every scene in this book is fascinating. And the relationship between Jerome, the boy, and Walt, the soldier, is engaging from start to finish. Their encounter possesses both the ignorant fantasy of perfection while being painfully fated for an unhappy end. Very few books have made me feel as though I, as a person, have changed. My one aggravation which has not affected my rating since it is irrelevant to the original text , is that the English translation is clearly inferior to the original Dutch.

However, being that For a Lost Soldier is virtually unknown in the West, I am eternally grateful to have been privileged with reading the novel. View 2 comments. Apr 01, David rated it liked it. I saw the film version of this book when it came out, and many other times since. I was extremely disappointed with the book version. Can you blame me? I thought it was well-written, based upon Jeroen's point of view, and there was certainly more detail to his story.

My disappointment is completely based on the depiction of Walt in the book. The man is an uncaring jerk, and what he shared with Jeroen wasn't love, no matter how many people depict it so. I'm not indicting inter-generational love here- this story is just not that. If there was any 'love', it came only from an impressionable boy, and was not returned by the man he 'loved'. I must admit that while reading this story, I wanted to reach into the book and punch Walt in the face.

This may make my view sound rather pedestrian, but that's the way I felt. View all 6 comments. Jul 30, Wesleybriant rated it it was amazing. The author spilled his guts -- and they were beautiful. Nov 27, Gerry Burnie rated it it was amazing Shelves: Gerry B's Book Reviews - http: All I found were a couple of pages of outdated, academic, and even American offerings i.

The Best American Short Stories The book and the film differ quite significantly, especially in the way the ending is constructed, but the basic story outline is the same.

Near the end of the war in Holland, eleven-year-old Jeroen Boman is sent to live in the country due to a food shortage in Amsterdam. However, despite a relative abundance to eat he is wracked with loneliness for his parents and friends. This is subject to change when the village is liberated by a group of Canadian Troops, and Jeroen encounters a something soldier named Walter Cook.

Jeroen revels in the attention shown by Cook, and a relationship is formed between them that eventually becomes sexual in nature. Even the photograph of him—the only token Jeroen has left—is damaged by rain. Eventually Jeroen is forced to realize that all he has left are memories. However, the sexual aspect in the novel is delicately handled, and in the film it is so subtle that one might actually miss it. What remains is a powerful story of coming of age, and the lifelong impact of first love.

Five bees.

Jul 11, Jarvislooi rated it it was amazing. I had not expected this novel until I had watched the film and intended to look for reviews on it. In the film, the soldier was true-hearted and wanted but did not know how to tell Jeroen about his deployment or departure. In the novel, he just went vanished without bothering leaving a note or giving the boy a last glance that the author hoped for even at the end of his life.

What saddened me more was not the fact that the soldier never came back to Jeroen, but that the soldier never wanted Jero I had not expected this novel until I had watched the film and intended to look for reviews on it. What saddened me more was not the fact that the soldier never came back to Jeroen, but that the soldier never wanted Jeroen and treated him as a sex object. The image in which the blond soldier guarding them, Walt mingling with a soldier near the seawall invited Jeroen for the sexual acts scared and disappointed me the most, asking myself why he would do that to Jeroen, even continuing with the soldier without him.

All these traces tell the readers that Walt did not have a feeling for Jeroen, at least not a lovely one.

Jeroen became so obsessed of Walt even whilst back to Amsterdam, picturing Walt and his sexual abuses everywhere he went and in everything he did. My heart was easily broken by simply putting myself in his shoes. It is true that Jeroen, even grown-up, refused to admit that he was used by Walt and was still believing that the soldier loved him. My tears dropped, reading the last line of the novel. Walt was not there for him with the minister's wife and his mother.

He was, and had always been, somewhere else, probably mingling on bed with other boys, as he did that in front of Jeroen without feeling guilty or even embarrassed. That Walt would have sex with his comrades on his way back to his native country never thinking of Jeroen broke into my head and sadden me so easily even after having read the book for some time.

I would imagine that the soldier had read this book, so well written for him, and he had contacted the author through the publisher I sincerely hope that he did that May 29, Alessio Callegari rated it it was amazing Shelves: The exceptional account of Jeroen - aka the author - has actually leaved a remarkable sign on my reader experience, differing by the movie on many ways, because of the psicology itself of every work: But that doesn't care for the author - as for the reader himself: Despite everything, I haven't been able to deny any little or big reflection that he builds up on the things happening around his universe; this, because of the writing style: During the book, I really wanted to reach the arm and grab him, keeping him away from the lurking dangers he was going to.

Jan 23, Richard Jespers rated it it was amazing. Loved the book as much if not more than the film which is excellent. Plot is slightly different. The book portrays the sexual experiences as being brutal as they naturally would be between a twelve year-old and a young man , but Jeroen is ambivalent in both: He feels a deep sense of longing and loss when he cannot locate Walt near the end of the war [perhaps a universal longing among pre-homosexual boys].

Other differences: The story evoked in me my own longing—perhaps universal among some gay men—for a beautiful strong young man who will love and protect the boy-me. Nov 26, Duane rated it it was amazing. Then I too fall asleep again.

I can see the tops of trees flitting by through a gap in the canvas overhead. Flashes of sky and the violent rustle of branches and leaves. Perhaps we drove past her and I didn't know. She left three days ago, with her sister. Both of them were on rickety old bikes.

Maybe other things too, if we're lucky. Flour and milk. When she looked up and waved I hadn't waved back, making sure she knew that I was cross. By the time she gets back I'll be gone; only Daddy and Bobbie will be there. She should never have gone away and now it's too late. Is this the polder that we're driving through? If I were to go and sit near the tail-board, I should have a better view of the road. You never know, I might suddenly see her.

Will she be upset to find that I'm gone, will she write to me? But perhaps the post doesn't go to Friesland. The lorry comes to an abrupt halt. There are voices and soon afterwards the tail-board is let down.

Outside stands a soldier, yellow light reflecting off his helmet.

The Lost Soldier

He is carrying a rifle. A man with a cap looks inside, our driver behind him with his hands in his pockets. The lady crawls through to the end of the lorry and passes. It all looks very conspiratorial and reminds me of the war games we used to play in the evenings in the bushes along the canal.

He shoves the cases about and orders I wo boys to get up. Then they are told to sit down again and he gives them both a pat on the cheek. No one makes a sound. The man with the cap jumps out of the lorry and waves. A soldier who looms up out of the dark shines a torch into the back of the lorry, a piercing searchlight.

Then suddenly it Is dark again. We all crawl out from our places and everyone starts to talk at once. What did he want you to do? Did he hit you? If we spread the blankets out we'll all be able to get some sleep. Jan and I have our faces turned towards each other, I can feel his breath on my face.

Suddenly, everything is mysterious and exciting. We look at each other and I feel a prod under the blanket. Jan chuckles. He turns over. They look around cautiously and move without making a noise, 'Who's in charge here? A boy has been taken ill, he's lying up the road on the verge. Can you take him with you? Is the lady asleep or is she pretending? I try to make out how many people there are and prop myself up a little.

Perhaps my mother is there with them. Isn't there anyone in charge here? This is a children's transport to Friesland. Everyone in the lorry is wide awake. My heart thumps. There are footsteps and German voices. The strangers duck out of sight. We can hear them running for it. The lorry is moving again, jolting along slowly. Unexpectedly a hand grips me firmly between the legs. I jerk my head up.

The lady has lain down as well, I can see lots of little grey hummocks all around me. In the other corner there is a sound as if someone is choking back sobs. The grip in my crotch loosens.

We must be sure to stay together, you know. Hey, are you listening? We mustn't let them split us up. Now ii id then the lorry drives over a pothole and my head bumps ngainst the hard floor.

Jan's arm has a safe feel to it. I listen to I lie noise of the tyres on the road. We wake up with a start. The tail-board has banged open and.. There is crying. A few children stand up confused and are pulled back down again. We thump our fists against the cab, but the driver keeps going. Outside it is pitch-black. The lady leans out and swings the tail-board back up. It could have been my suitcase, I think. No more under- wear, no towel, no socks.

Have I still got my registration card? I feel in my trouser pocket. Jan's arm slips off me. I must innember to keep my hand on my registration card, other- wise I'll lose that as well. I In' driver drives over the Dam with dipped headlights.

That I easeless murmuring is the sea. A gull drifts over the road like i crap of paper and disappears into the dark. The lorry is a mole burrowing through the night. All the other children sleep, like animals seized with fear. I heir bodies shake in unison at every bump in the road. Only the lady is awake. She stares at the flapping canvas with mile-open eyes. Two hulking men have lifted us out of the lorry and now we are waiting, expecting the worst. Jan is sitting on his suitcase, staring at the ground, yawning without stopping.

No one says a word. The lady and the driver have walked away from one end of the lorry. What are they talking about? We are at a crossroads. I can see quiet country lanes disappearing in three directions. The village stretches out on two sides: Not a soul is to be seen, everyone is asleep.

The road in front of us disappears into dank pastures where the motionless backs of cows stick up out of the mist like black and white stones in a grey river. Is this Friesland? Surely it can't be.

The North Pole, Iceland, Friesland: But where we are now is just like those outskirts of Amsterdam that I would see when I had a day out bicycling with my mother and father during the holidays: But perhaps this is only a stop on the journey, a short break Oil the road to our mysterious destination. Several men come i nit of a gloomy little building with a pointed gable, some- ll ling halfway between a church and a storehouse.

Country [irople because they are wearing clogs.

They talk in low voices and walk unhurriedly, ponderous- ly, towards the lady. One of them holds the doors of the little l-iiilding open and beckons us: It smells damp in the building, musty, as if no one has been in it for a long time. The room is high and bare. There is a bookcase with rows of Hue-jacketed books and folded clothes, and hanging on two 1 1 the walls are rectangular slate boards, one of them chalked with mysterious letters and figures: Perhaps they ire check-marks to be entered on our registration cards so that we can always be identified and traced.

High up on the walls small windows in cast-iron frames let in a little dim light. I look at the row of bent backs on either llde of me. There is some shuffling of feet and a bout of hoarse Jan is sitting some distance from me. He doesn't move but his eyes are following the lady, who is being excessively busy with the luggage. She shifts and rearranges the suitcases as she notes down on a sheet of paper how many have already been brought in and which ones belong to whom.

From time to time she looks at us thoughtfully and lutes her pencil. She is sharing us out, I think to myself. I must go up and tell her that Jan and I belong together, that we've got to stay together.

There is one for each of you here in the neighbourhood. All of us look stunned or half asleep. She pushes two bags to one side and crosses something out on the list. They speak Frisian here, it's hard to understand. But in a month's time you'll be speaking it really fluently, just you wait and see. Why is she laughing, why are we having to sit here all this time? I can see my suitcase, somewhere at the back, so it's still there. But really I couldn't care less, what does a suitcase matter?

Jan has already been given his food and is holding a mug of milk between his knees. He hasn't spoken one word and looks straight through me, as if we had never known each other or even lived in the same street together.

But I couldn't care less about that any more. A few men are standing round a table by the door. As they talk, they look at us and point or nod in our direction.

Then one of them buries his nose in a writing-pad, as if he is doing a complicated multiplication sum. One man points his finger at the paper while looking at us out of the corner of his eyes.

Then he lifts the fingers of his other hand up, counting: When it won't work out, he starts all over again: We eat our bread and butter in silence, peering over our mugs as we drink our milk.

The driver sits a bit further back on a chair. He has a small pile of bread in front of him and chews steadily, looking peevish and disgruntled. I have a plan. I'll go straight up to him and ask him if the lorry is going back again, and if I may go along too. No one i v 1 1 1 notice if I disappear. I'll save my bread and butter and if I gtve it to him he'll be sure to let me.

I look around: Why did I ever allow 1 1 1 s self to be taken to the lorry? I should have run away while ive were still in Amsterdam. I am filled with regrets. I picture the driver suddenly, giving me a friendly smile as he takes me along with him to the lorry.

Unnoticed, we'll start it up and drive away. But I know that I shall go on dutifully sitting here waiting to lee what they will do with me. The driver stands up, talks to I hf men by the table and unexpectedly walks out.

Too late. I'll have to think up another plan. The lady takes the first two children by the hand and leads Ihem out like animals to the slaughter. Everyone left behind stares after them. They have no luggage with them: I can feel all the children in the hall growing smaller, terrified at the sound. The silence that follows has something threatening about it ,md there is a strange tension between the adults and the i hildren.

The men stand close together. They seem to be uniting against us. Are they likely to hurt us, can we trust them? They talk in hushed voices and not one of them has a smile. They look at each other worriedly and then at us, as if we are an insoluble problem.

Greetje from Bloedstraat is part of the next group to go. She smiles at me with the corners of her mouth turned down, lop-sided like the limp bow in her tangled hair. She makes an almost imperceptible movement with her hand: Next it's Jan's turn. When the lady calls out 'Hogervorst', he picks his case up firmly and walks to the door. I follow him with my eyes. Now he is leaving the hall without even sparing me a glance. Slowly but steadily all the children disappear.

I am the only one left behind, just like what always happens during games 16 17 at school when the boys pick who is going to play in which eleven. It doesn't surprise me, I never get picked, it's all part of the same misery.

The men look at me from behind the table; the papers come out again; there is a brief discussion. The lady shrugs her shoulders and looks at her watch. Nothing we can do about it now. When I am suddenly told to stand up I feel a blinding fear.

Stiff-legged I go over to my suitcase and walk out of the door. All their eyes are on me and I have the feeling that everyone is breathing a sigh of relief. Before I know what exactly is happening, 1 am sitting on the back of a man's bicycle, too scared to hold on to his coat. In my terror I have failed to take a last look at the lady and the driver, the last people known to me.

All at once I feel I can't do without them, now that I am being left alone with this silent man who is pedalling away with his back bent against the wind.

We leave a village street behind and then bicycle along a road that curves through sloping pasture-land and past quiet farmhouses.

Here and there cows or sheep huddle sullenly together, their shapes reflected in still ditches. I am sure that even the cows know that I am a stranger here, because sometimes one of them lifts her head and stares after me with round, moist eyes. Without warning, the man suddenly stops in the middle of the meadows and gets off. I can hear he is doing his best to speak distinctly so that I can understand. You'll be lodging with fisherfolk, good people.

But I've got to go back first, we've left your suitcase at the Sunday school. Fields of grass all around me and not a soul in sight. This is a trap, of course, the man will never come back. I've 18 been left here to starve to death, they meant me to all along. And my father was in it as well, that's for sure.

They want to get rid of me. The man had said, 'You'll be lodging with fisherfolk. Keep and stables, haystacks, goats and horses. Like in the hooks I'd read at school. I have a nightmare vision of a ramshackle wooden hut on a wide, wind-blown shore with two old people sitting silently, continually mending nets.

I can't stand fish. I can't get it down my throat, I'd sooner starve or choke to death! What am I doing here, why am I having to put up with all this? Where is my mother, where is our safe little home? And where have they taken Jan?

If I knew where he was we might at least try to escape together. Shall I run back and try to find the driver? If I hurry, the lorry may still be in the village.

A spark of hope. I start racing back down the road like one possessed. The silence roars in my ears with every step I take. I have the taste of blood in my throat. A cow lifts her head and lows loudly and plaintively.

In the distance the man is coming back on the bicycle, my suitcase dangling from the handlebars. When, panting, I stop running, he looks at me in surprise, but asks no questions. I've been caught out and feel a little ridiculous. Shamefaced, I get back onto the luggage carrier. We bicycle on, a road without end. That's where we're going.

I'll be seeing it soon enough. This is Laaxum. We're there. Is this a village, this handful of tiny, scattered dwellings? The loneliness grips me and clamps my chest. A grazing horse takes a few snorting steps away from us and I quickly draw closer to the man.

Another fence, and then to the little house on the left. No trees, no bushes, nothing. At the back of the house is a stable-door, the upper half open.

He steps out of his clogs and we go inside. A large, heavily built woman in dark clothes, seemingly consisting of nothing but enormous round shapes, is bending over in a low room. When she draws herself up, the room looks too small for her. She has a strong face and immensely wide eyes. She walks to the table, drops into a chair and pins back a loose strand into her knot of hair.

One of the Fates, as large as life, looking first at my escort and then at me and then bursting into loud and incredulous laughter. She stands up, filling the room with her bulk again, moving towards me: Pasture-land outside, emptiness and wind. Inside it smells of food and burning wood. The man goes and sits down to talk at the table with the woman, conspirators speaking an incomprehensible language.

I say 'yes' quickly. A lie, but otherwise they might throw me out straight away.

I'll hand over the registration card with the ration coupons now. Maybe that'll make her think a bit better of me.

For a Lost Soldier - Bad Dream Town

I feel in my pockets: Frantically I look through all my clothes: The man gets up and holds out his hand to me. I feel like excess ballast, shunted from one person to another. The door rattles; I hear the man step into his clogs.

As he recedes into the distance the woman continues her conversation with him, shouting loudly over the fields as he disappears. Then the voices stop and all I can hear is clattering in the kitchen. Maybe the woman is never going to come back into the room again. A clock ticks behind me. When she does come back in, my face is wet.

She wipes my cheeks dry roughly with her apron, but her silence is friendly and considerate. Would you like something to drink? She doesn't seem cross any more that I'm not a girl, the ice has been broken. She opens my suitcase. But then she lifts up a towel and is full of admiration. That must have cost a lot of money.

She sits down facing me by the other window and picks up a bowl of potatoes from the floor. The sound of the knife cutting through the potatoes and the ticking of the clock. The window-panes creak in the wind. I peer behind me: Nervously, I take in the smells, the sounds and the shapes. Even time is different here, slow and dragging. Eternities seem to have gone by since yesterday. My eyes fall shut and I wake in confusion as the woman drops a potato in the pan.

I must stay awake, who knows what'Il happen to me otherwise. A small wooden plate hangs on the wall facing me. You give commands to dogs. The Lord must be God, of course, but. I've just started the sixth year. The same as our Meint.

That's good, the two of you can do your homework together. Outside she pumps water into a pan and throws the potatoes in. Then she puts the pan on the kitchen-range in a shed fitted up as a cookhouse. She throws logs on to the fire and pokes it hard. Sparks fly out into the open. I've made up my mind to agree with everything she says.

In my mind's eye I can see my mother in a summery, bright kitchen, the veranda door open and me playing outside. The woman's large round back moves about steadily while she sweeps the stone floor.

Bestselling Series

She pushes me outside firmly because I am in her way. Shivering with cold, I lean against the little shed and look at the dyke that runs from end to end of the horizon.

I can hear the sea: When the woman goes back into the house I hang back, then walk meekly after her. I duck into the chair by the window and wait. The clock ticks insistently. Slowly I doze off and give a start when I hear the sound of voices outside the door.

Suddenly they hush. A girl's voice asks, 'Is he in the room? We eat potatoes and meat. No greens. Two big pans stand on the table and the father does the serving up. Now and then somebody holds out a plate without saying a word, the big boy has had three helpings already.

I look around the circle. There are six children sitting at table, shoulder to shoulder, all of them fair, all of them sturdy and all of them silent.

They eat hunched over forwards, as if it is hard, strenuous work. They have lost interest in me. I feel hemmed in and small and try not to take up any room when making movements towards my plate.

At strategic moments I take a bite quickly and as unobtrusively as pos- sible, swallowing hurriedly. After a few bites my body feels tired and leaden, a wave of liquid rising up inside me and burning in my throat. I clench my fingers around the edge of the chair and think of home. More and more people had come clumping into the small room, first a boy and a girl my age, followed by a smaller girl with a limp.

She had hobbled through the room, steadying herself against the table or the wall. Later a couple more came in who were older, Popke, a tall, weather-beaten boy - the only one to hold out his hand to me and to introduce himself - and a boisterous girl with sturdy breasts under her tight dress.

She had been talking noisily as she came into the room, but when she had seen me sitting there, she had suddenly fallen silent as if someone were sick, or dead.

After the first awkward silence, they started talking among themselves in undertones. Sometimes I could hear them stifle a laugh. When I glanced in their direction, one of the girls burst out laughing and ran quickly out of the room.

A hush did not fall until the father said commandingly, 'That will do for now. He surveyed me with a small lop-sided smile in the corners of his mouth. Well, we can show them a thing or two in Amsterdam, eh, boys? Preparing for a new cross-examination, I thrust myself back in my chair as far as I could. The man bent over forward and rubbed his feet, one after the other, an agonised expres- sion on his face.

The lame girl went to her father's side with an exaggerated show of affection. She placed her hand on his knee and leant her head against the back of his chair, looking at me curiously as she did so.

I could see she was putting this on for my benefit. I tried to avoid meeting the girl's eyes and looked uncertainly at the father. I could sense he was a gentle man and that he was taking me for what I was, without any fuss.

His gestures were made with deliberation, it looked at times as if he were caressing the air. He sat very quietly, and his look in my direction was friendly and reassuring. While he's there, I thought, things will be a bit easier. The girls came in with the plates and the cutlery and pushed everything about on the table, making a great deal of noise.

The father put his hand on my shoulder and showed to my place. All the menfolk together. Stillness settled over the. The family sat with folded I lands, heads bowed. I looked at the big woman who gave the impression of watching me even with her eyes closed. I quickly shut my eyes and took up I he same posture as the others, peeping out of the corners of m v eyes to see when the prayer was over. I searched for an explanation that would ring true but I ho father answered for me.

Aren't they? I'otatoes with meat. And here you can have i ; much as you like, all you need to do is hold up your plate. The meal goes by silently and quickly. Things I was never allowed to do at home seem quite all right here: They watch me eat. I have difficulty getting the food down and have to swallow hard. I try to put down my fork without being noticed, but I can feel the woman's eyes upon me. The smell of the food gives me a queasy feeling in my stomach.I'll hand over the registration card with the ration coupons now.

This is not a slam on people who think the boy was "longing" for the soldier, but I just caution that we bring a lot of our own subjectivity to interpretation of art, especially if you think Kelley Walt was attractive. Jan crawls across to me, pushing in between me and the girl. Both of them were on rickety old bikes. The story of a romantic relationship between a grown-up and a child.

Edit Storyline The story of a romantic relationship between a grown-up and a child.