Skewering the pomposity of big business while revealing how an entrepreneurial spirit can often be a mask for buffoonery, Willem Elsschot’s Cheese combines. CHEESE. Willem Elsschot, Author, Paul Vincent, Translator, trans. from the Dutch by Paul Vincent. Granta $ (p) ISBN X. Cheese. Ida de Ridder published her memoirs of her father Alfons de Ridder, the man who gained fame as a writer under the pseudonym Willem Elsschot.

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The 10 Best Emily Dickinson Poems. This is where the problems begin with this new job where in a chance to impress his bosses and prove that a simple clerk like him is worth the job.


He spends ages thinking up a name for his company, trying to find a typewriter, marvelling at his new telephone, writing advertisements for agents his own adverts impress him so much he feels like answering them himself.

Until its publication he had been a relatively unnoticed writer whose work fell outside the prevailing literary fashions. Meanwhile, his offices fill up with a seemingly infinite supply of the distinctive red-skinned cheeses, which he has no idea how to sell.

His concise, witty and often cynical novels satirize the mundanity of twentieth-century life and are cherished throughout Belgium and Holland.

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Cheese – Willem Elsschot

He eventually appoints thirty agents throughout the country to sell his product, but isn’t very good at picking the appropriate people and, as it turns out, isn’t aware of the rare occasions he does. In the meantime, 10, wheels of Edam are delivered. Iwllem by Sander Berg. Elsschot is one of the greatest twentieth-century Dutch-language writers and generation after generation has had the pleasure of rediscovering his small but masterly oeuvre.

There had been quite a number of changes at the office in those few weeks. Show 25 25 50 All. Alfons de Ridder, the head of a successful advertising agency, had never said a word about his writing at home. Congratulations to the publisher for bringing this little classic to our attention.


Cheese by Willem Elsschot. Authors and translators Books. His co-workers, or possibly ex-co-workers, paint a vivid picture of the excitement he is missing. The editors of the important magazine Forum had encouraged him to break ten years of silence and return to prose.

I not sure it fully works when I first mentioned I was reading this a willfm on twitter said they had thrown it to one willme half read. He works for the general Marine and Shipbuilding Company and, “getting on for fifty”, long reached as high a position and wage as he can expect there; in fact he’s expecting the gradual decline in his pay that is the norm at the company once an employee like him has made it this far.

In the words of his fellow writer Louis Paul Boon: Laarmans is in way over his head, and he bumbles along, his heart not really in the whole hard-sell concept. As poignant as it is funny, Cheese will appeal to anyone who has suffered the endless indignities of office life. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: A decent satire of the business world general enough to ring true even todayCheese also isn’t that ambitious, but the pleasure is to be found in the tone, the nicely set scenes domestic and professionaland the constant small failures Laarmans endures.

Willem Elsschot Cheese Ida de Ridder published her memoirs of her father Alfons de Ridder, the man who gained fame as a writer under the pseudonym Willem Elsschot Cheese is amusingly related, and Laarmans a good narrator, slightly overwhelmed by everything he faces and pretty consistently making if not the wrong, so at least very poor choices. Laarmans is saddled with a consignment of cases containing ten thousand full-cream Edam cheeses.


Cheese: A Novel by Willem Elsschot review – self-improvement through edam

Email required Address never made public. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. An opportunity arises after the death of his mother, however, and he is offered the job of official representative for Belgium and Luxembourg for a large Dutch cheese-manufacturer. When the ambitious but inept clerk Frans Laarmans is offered a job managing an Edam distribution company in Antwerp, he jumps at the chance, despite his professed dislike for cheese in all its forms.

Kaas is a brilliant evocation of the thirties and depicts a world full of smart operators and failed businessmen; the book is, above all, about human shortcomings and no one writes about them as well as Elsschot does. Blog Statshits. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

This Mr Van Sconnbeke comes from an old, wealthy family. Meanwhile, his cheese sits stinking in a warehouse. Laarmans isn’t fond of cheese—upon visiting a cheese shop, he observes, “The Roqueforts and Qillem lewdly flaunted their mould, and a squadron of Camemberts let their pus ooze out freely”—but he is willing to snatch cheeee any opportunity to escape his drab job at the shipping yards and enhance his social standing.

But Mr Van Schoonbeke could own his car if he wished, and no one knows this better than his friends. Before selling his first Edam, he wastes days searching for a typewriter to write up receipts for unmade sales and hours searching shops for a desk.

Post was not sent – check your email addresses! The book’s poker-faced humor falls a bit flat in translation, though Laarmans’s ordeal makes for nail-biting reading, and Elsschot’s class commentary is astute.