Gerard Reve: Bezorgde Ouders (Parents Worry)


The latest addition to my website is Gerard Reve‘s Bezorgde Ouders (Parents Worry). This novel tells the story of Hugo Treger, an alcoholic, homosexual, Catholic poet and translator. We follow one day in his life (a short time before Christmas) and, though the story is told in the third person, the story consists entirely of his inner thoughts. These thoughts are often about his sadistic, homosexual lusts, aimed partially at his room-mate, Unicorn, eighteen years his junior, but partially at other men he sees. Unicorn – we never learn his real name; his nickname is derived from the size of his penis – is a passive young man, nominally studying, though exactly how much study he is doing is unsure. Treger fantasises about Unicorn in various sexual encounters, generally involving other men, but also thinks about his Catholicism (like Treger himself, he only converted in middle age), has racist thoughts, some involving sexual encounters with Unicorn, and tries to scavenge what he can, as he is not very well-off and Unicorn contributes little financially. Treger is a very conflicted man, though he himself is not aware of this, struggling with is poetry, drinking large quantities, not a very good Catholic, though this does not bother him, and, above all, a man whose lusts drive him to continual sexual fantasies. It is the only book of Reve’s published in English and, given the strong homsexual fanatasies, it is easy to see that this book would not be everyone’s liking.

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