Forever a Stranger by Hella S. Haasse
Hella S. Haasse, one of Holland's most popular contemporary authors, was born in the Dutch East Indies in 1918. The influence of her early years in this region, where she left behind unforgettable memories, is clearly reflected in her writing.The stories in this collection, translated into English for the first time, contain oustanding descriptions of the Indonesian landscape and evoke remarkable images of a fascinating country and its people. `Forever a Stranger', from which this collection takes its name, is of special significance toMrs Haasse. Ostensibly a story about a Dutch boy and his Indonesian friend whose childhood bond was increasingly undermined by race and class differences and ultimately destroyed by the Indonesian revolution, at a more fundamental level represents Mrs Haasse's attempt to come to terms with therealization that she had `never been anything more than a foreigner' in the country she had so naturally loved as a child.The other two stories - `Lidah Boeaja' (Crocodile's Tongue) and `An Affair (Egbert's Story)' - were first published in Mrs Haasse's autobiographical volume entitles Een Handvol Achtergrond (A Handful of Ground). Both excellent stories with interesting characters and suspenseful plots, they showclearly Mrs Haasse's sensitivity to impressions absorbed into her memory and imagination during her childhood and youth in the Indies.