the Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermoût (1958)
Felicia returns to the spice garden in the Moluccas where she spent her childhood together with her infant son. Her grandmother is as strange as she was when Felicia was young. She refused to call her Felicia because she disliked that her parents had given her a happy name when they didn’t know if she was happy, and therefore called her just granddaughter.  She has a curiosity cabinet full of strange things which she collects for Felicia’s son. And then there are the three little dead girls who play in the sand.

From there the story moves on to other people on the island, both native and visitors. It is a strange tale, dealing with indigenous beliefs and superstitions meeting the European traditions. But it turned out to be another  beautifully written book which left no significant impression on me. I can’t quite put the finger on why or how, but I had a hard time concentrating on the 208 pages. I guess I just get lost in the prose.

I became curious about this book after reading about it in Wild by Cheryl Strayed; it was one of the books she read on the Pacific Crest Trail. 

I have another similar book, the Tea Lords by Hella S. Haasse, and I’m hoping that one will be better, because it’s interesting to read literature from the former Dutch colonists.