Friday 5 December 2014

Nine Open Arms by Benny Lindelauf

Nine Open Arms is set in a fictional town based on the little town of Sittard, in the Netherlands, where the author grew up.

Originally titled Negen Open Armen & published in 2004, it has now been beautifully translated into English by Dutch-born, Australian-based translator Johannes (John) Antonius Maria Nieuwenhuizen.

In his translator notes, Nieuwenhuizen said,

"Lindelauf uses some colourful words in colloquial Limburgish to bring the characters, the place and the times to life. 
I have kept some of these words in the English translation because they add to the flavour and liveliness of the story."

There is much to love about this story, & the Limburgish words & local traditions are simply part of the appeal (iepekriet, kendj, kwatsj, leeveke, miljaar, sjiethoes, sjlamm & ulezeik to name a few! The only problem being - I had absolutely no idea how to pronounce any of them!)

Nine Open Arms is a charming family mystery set prior to WWII. Eleven year old Fing and her extended family are quirky, warm-hearted folks struggling to make ends meet and cope with the recent death of their mother.

Moving to a new (old) house is an unsettling experience for all of them. Living next to a cemetary, finding odd pieces of furniture in the cellar & mysteriously losing food doesn't help any of them to find "the opposite of worry". Something is not quite right.

As the "tragical tragedies" unfold, Fing & her family learn that love & honesty are the keys to not only solving the mysteries, but in allowing everyone to enjoy "the scent of time to come."

Nine Open Arms is funny, heart-warming and slightly spooky. 
A wonderfully engaging read for mature 10+ readers, but with so much depth of character & sense of a story well-told, this book could be enjoyed by anyone of any age.

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