Do you sometimes get annoyed with your neighbours? And do you then find yourself saying things like: ‘Well yes, they do have a party once in a while, but, gosh, we were all young once.’ Watch out! Maybe it is time to buy ‘The Neighbour’ by J.J. Voskuil.
This book demonstrates how small irritations can escalate into a hell of row. Maarten and Nicolien, the couple featured in earlier books by the same writer, try to maintain a good relationship with their neighbours: two men. They succeed for quite a while, but then things derail. Nicolien in particular cannot stand this. She is so keen to stay on good terms with these neighbours because they are homosexuals, by definition victims in her eyes. A kind of inverted prejudice which is perhaps the very reason why things go wrong.
A very instructive book – material for a course in ‘being good neighbours’, perhaps. (Not available in English unfortunately.)
Frits Hoorweg, 13 April 2012