Sometimes, you just need to step outside of your comfort zone. Whether that be by going paragliding or trying a new cuisine? It’s supposed to do you a lot of good. And certainly, reading Nasleep (English title: Aftermath), I got the best out of the unexpected.
Everyone has a history.
Fifteen year old Floris is looking for his father, an agressive man, who’s been exiled.
His mother Marthe, who was abused by Alexander for years. Who is missing her daughter as well as her best friends.
Lady Jorinde, who inherited the county of Markenrode after both her father and her brother perished in a war.
The people Floris runs into along the way. The sisters Simona and Sophie, who are missing their late mother and are facing boys, family and being married off, as well as Line, who have to live a dog’s life on their father’s farm.
The people who stay behind, the people who arrive in Markenrode in the mean time.
Nasleep (Aftermath) is about all of those people, their backgrounds, their histories, and how they are working through those in the now. It’s a cruel story, a sweet story. About parents and children, brothers and sisters, men and women, nature and nurture, trying to belong, friendship and love. Set in a world that feels medieval, but filled with feelings that span all times.
Reading Nasleep (Aftermath) felt a bit like being thrown into a non-stop stream of consciousness. The sheer number of characters introduced in just the first couple of pages made for a story that demands you to immerse yourself.
Luckily, the depth with which these characters are painted, makes for a much easier read than that first impression. The way each and every character is set apart so beautifully by the way they think and speak, makes for a type of recognisability that I’ve not come across too often.
Jumping from the past to the present, from the possible to the real, Nasleep creates a feeling of completeness. You come away from reading it with the idea that you truly know the characters. You understand why Floris had to leave, you can anticipate Marthe’s thoughts and actions… And although you needn’t necessarily like her – you can even appreciate Simona’s wild streak.
Finally, there’s a sort of universal-ness to this story. The cruelty of its world, as well as the goodness that so many of its people display… The hope for “better” and “more” is one that can easily be found again in today’s world as well. Because of that, the story felt, at times, more like an experience than it did a narration.
The rating: 4/5
If you’re in need of a book that will transport you into a completely different world? One that will introduce you a set of characters so wide that you must find someone to recognise yourself in? And if you want all that to be written in a way that feels incredibly natural? Then Nasleep (Aftermath) is definitely the book for you – pity it’s only available in Dutch (yet). (Goodreads)