Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chapter 1

Kaas (Cheese) is more of a human story than a Belgian one. It begins with a letter that forms the basis for the book. We see J. Greshoff getting his mail. As he starts to read, the reader reads with him. The letter pictured doesn't look 283 pages long, but it does look bigger than usual.

The letter begins with the death of the writer's mother. It is very touching as he tells about her last days, her smile, her declining lucidity, her fidgeting as she slowly disembowels pillows and scatters the stuffing everywhere and finally, her mania for peeling potatoes. The family accommodates her, bringing her buckets of them to peel. While I have not known anyone to spend their last weeks doing such things, I feel like I should have. I have seen similar actions in those near the end, hanging on in odd ways.

Reading in Dutch remains challenging. I still use my dictionary and computer. I have graduated to the verb book. I use the computer dictionaries a lot less than I used to. It's faster if you can get by with books alone.

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