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The Blue Door
by André Brink | Literature & Fiction
Registered by wingStoepbrakwing of Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on 11/26/2012
Average 8 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by jrfep): reserved

2 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingStoepbrakwing from Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Monday, November 26, 2012

This book has not been rated.

Synopsis (Credit:

The Blue Door is built around one of the oldest questions in storytelling: What if ...? What if I return home one day to find, behind a familiar door, an unfamiliar world? What if the people closest to me turn out to be strangers? What if strangers start claiming a place in my life I cannot imagine? What if the memories of the most important moments in my life can no longer be trusted? What if I am not who I think I am?

David le Roux, a teacher recently turned full-time artist, returns to his studio one afternoon to find his whole familiar world turned upside down. The woman who opens the door and welcomes him as her husband is a complete stranger to him: beautiful and loving, but not the wife he assumes he has been married to for nine years. The children are overjoyed at his return, but he has never set eyes on them before. And when he goes back to the building he believes he lives in, it no longer exists. Has everything in his life been illusion? Or is the past real and only the present a hallucination?

Instead of living with the consequences of early choices he now discovers that behind every choice made lurks the possibility of innumerable other choices not made.

What if, indeed ...?

(Bought second-hand at Book Wise Exchange, High Street, Bellville.) 

Journal Entry 2 by wingStoepbrakwing at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Monday, November 26, 2012

8 out of 10

It must be! ...
It could also be different

— Milan Kundera

In The Blue Door the author tackles the age-old question of how things could have turned out if certain watershed decisions somewhere in the past were to have gone the other way. The result is neither an escapist dream where the green grass on the other side of the fence proves to be all it's made out to be; nor is the end result a rush back to life as it was. Life remains complicated, whatever the particular set of circumstances.

It's also interesting how some distance tends to bring perspective with regards to certain aspects of a life being lived doggedly from day to day. Not a new theme, but an interesting story.

I bought this beautiful second-hand, hard cover copy, thinking I would keep it. Three weeks later I ran into a bilingual copy: paperback, but also in good condition (Umuzi/Random House, ISBN 1415200173). On one cover it reads The Blue Door. Flipping it over, the other cover reads Die Blou Deur.

André Brink is one of not too many authors who make use of self-translation. I found it fascinating to see how the English and Afrikaans versions differ. Being at once author and translator, I suppose he had more freedom to rewrite a phrase rather than merely translating it. The result is that both versions come across as fresh and authentic.

Journal Entry 3 by wingStoepbrakwing at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Monday, November 26, 2012

This book has not been rated.

Released 5 yrs ago (12/1/2012 UTC) at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa


It was difficult to decide which of the two books to register and release. In the end the hard cover copy's travelling itch proved the stronger.

To be taken to the BCct meetup at the OBCZ at A Touch of Madness in Observatory.

Read and Release! 

Journal Entry 4 by jrfep at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Tuesday, December 04, 2012

8 out of 10

There are many lives to be lived! Each time that we are confronted with a decision, a path is chosen and the neglected one becomes a dream, a regret, a recurring phantasy, and suddenly we keep memories of that other life that we have never lived... das ungelebte Leben, la vida que no vivimos.

A really good short story, that tell just enough, reminds me a little bit of Cortazar.


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