A Guardian Angel Recalls by Willem Frederik Hermans / ISBN 9781953861023 / 510 pages, small paperback with flaps from Archipelago
Willem Frederik Hermans's lucid and exhilarating WWII masterpiece in a razor-sharp translation by David Colmer
A Guardian Angel Recalls is a gripping and diabolical wartime novel by one of the most provocative Dutch writers of the twentieth-century.
Alberegt, a frenzied and lovelorn public prosecutor, speeds through Hook of Holland in his black Renault on May 9, 1940 – the eve of the German invasion of the Netherlands. Guiding his every move is a guardian angel.
With unflappable patience, the angel flits from the hood of the Renault to the rim of his windswept hat, determined to quell his every anxiety and doubt. The angel's momentary distraction, however, sets off a chain of events that spins a nightmarish web.
Alberegt's elusive companion serves both as narrator and meddlesome driver of the plot, though not without the interventions of a rotating cast of devils.
"With its hapless protagonist, acerbic tone, and laughable rumors of war (including German paratroopers disguised as nuns), much of this newly translated 1971 novel by the late Hermans is a comedy of errors. But its scenes of destruction are shattering and surreal . . . A sly but scorching Dutch masterpiece."
-- Kirkus Reviews, starred review