A story about the dutch colonial gouvernement on Indonesia It describes how one of the administrators slowly is overpowered by a silent force This mystic force, invisible, yet very real to the ones involved takes over their mental and physical health.
The description of the characters and the athmosphere is very convincing and shapes a mystical world, thus conrapositioning the world of the rational Dutch and the local Indonesian inhabitants In a world that was never meant to be their home, the Dutch become victims of a silent power.
The novel gives in a subtle way criticism on the practice of colonialism It is excellently written, a little bit outdated but still very powerful.
Op Het Eiland Java Vindt Een Aantal Onverklaarbare Gebeurtenissen Plaats De Inwoners Wijzen Die Toe Aan De stille kracht , Een Indisch Mysterie Dat De Mensen In Zijn Greep Houdt Resident Otto Van Oudijck Vindt Het Maar Onzin Maar Als Hij Een Regent Ontslaat Omdat Die Zich Op Een Feest Onbeschoft Gedragen Heeft, Gebeuren Er Plotseling Vreemde Dingen In Zijn Huis Als Hij Zich Zwakker Gaat Voelen En Ziek Wordt, Gaat Hij Steeds Meer In De stille kracht GelovenHet Oude Koloniale Indi Is Tastbaar Aanwezig In Dit Hoogtepunt Uit Het Oeuvre Van Louis Couperus Nederlandse Nuchterheid Tegenover Javaanse Mystiek, Angst Voor Seksuele Taboes Tegenover Natuurlijke Eenvoud En Uitbundigheid De Hoofdpersonen In De stille kracht Worden Verscheurd Door Tegenstellingen Die Zij Zelf Niet Begrijpen I read this in an English translation it is called The Hidden Force published by a wonderful independent publisher of forgotten classics, called the Pushkin Press I don t know why they aren t on Goodreads Pushkin Press books are small and easy to hold, with beautiful paper covers and pages Couperus is considered one of the great Dutch authors of the late 19th early 20th century, in the decadent style of Wilde and Huysmans In this book he writes about colonial Java Indonesia , an engrossing story of a failing marriage, and of the greater failure of the Dutch to understand the culture and people they have colonized Remarkably modern in its sentiments.
I don t read Dutch, but I found a good English translation at Project Gutenberg It s a good story and it paints a compelling picture of dangers and isolation in colonial Java The men, the administrators, work long hours and and are generally satisfied The women for the most part are pampered, bored, and unhappy, and often up to mischief Underneath the veneer of European civilization toil masses of natives with their magical beliefs and their rage against their colonizers These are the hidden forces Another hidden force is the environment, which is particularly well depicted the almost frighteningly lush vegetation, the the soggy heat, the insects.
Free download available at I really enjoyed reading De stille kracht It immediately brought back memories of reading Eline Vere by the same author Both novels have that descriptive style of writing with very little direct dialogues Moreover, the fin de siecle feeling is evident in both novels Although I read this book over the period of two months, it was not because I did not like it On the contrary when you are familiar with the characters and Couperus style of writing, you will notice that it is beautifully written Would recommend it to anyone who is willing to put a little efford in this kind of classic Definitely a worthwhile read for people interested in colonial stuff, but maybe less necessary for others I m told the E.
M Beekman edited version is better than the original Alexander Teixeira De Mattos translation I m not sure which one I read, because I ended up just downloading the free version fom s kindle store.
The extended blog review
Free at Project Gutenberg I just could not appreciate this book and I really wanted to The writing was so repetitiveevery characteristic of each character was drummed into your head a thousand timesextremely claustrophobic I was hair pulling frustrated, because Couperus is perceptive and objective I just don t think he found the pulse he was looking for with this book The insipid, racist, husks that colonialism made of these characters Couperus does an excellent job of describing sexual repression and the lack of sexual restraint Also how destructive it is to ignore the Hidden Force , or what I would think is The Obvious, in any close and wider relationship with others.