Willem Frederik Hermans: Het behouden huis (An Untouched House)

The latest addition to my website is Willem Frederik HermansHet behouden huis (An Untouched House). This is a long story about a Dutchman who had been captured three times by the Germans during World War II and had managed to escape every time, finally ending up with a group of Soviet partisans. Our unnamed narrator has no idea where he is but they keep on killing Germans. In this story they capture a spa town and he goes into an empty house, bathes, shaves and puts on civilian clothes. When he wakes up, the Germans have retaken the town and want to billet officers with him, thinking he is the owner of the house. He has to agree but what if the owners return or the partisans retake the town or the Germans find out that he is not the owner? This is typical Hermans, bleak, with much wanton cruelty and random destruction and very much in the War Is Hell genre.

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