A Hatred for Tulips

Richard Lourie
  • Review
By – December 9, 2011
In this fic­tion­al account, Joop, a mid­dleaged man, recounts to his estranged broth­er the ordeal of the family’s strug­gle to sur­vive dur­ing the Nazi occu­pa­tion of Ams­ter­dam. Joop resort­ed to steal­ing and cheat­ing in order to feed his fam­i­ly. Joop’s actions are moti­vat­ed by a des­per­ate yearn­ing to win his father’s love. In shar­ing his sto­ry, Joop dis­clos­es his long kept secret that it was he who betrayed Anne Frank’s fam­i­ly by reveal­ing their hid­ing place to the Nazis. The sim­plic­i­ty of the novel’s frank dia­logue and direct descrip­tions stand in iron­ic con­trast to the com­pli­cat­ed and trou­bling themes of betray­al, sib­ling rival­ry, and respon­si­bil­i­ty for war crimes that Lourie deft­ly rais­es. Lourie leaves the read­er with unan­swered ques­tions, there­by mir­ror­ing the motif of secre­cy that under­lies this unusu­al and provoca­tive novel.

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