A neurotic, darkly humorous, cynical treatise on youth after World War II

It is not every day we have the opportunity to say something new about a classic. But almost seventy years after the first edition of Gerard Reve’s The Evenings appeared in the Netherlands in 1947, the classic Dutch work has finally been translated into English.

Reve, who died in 2006, came into the literary spotlight at a crucial moment during the post-war period and continues to hold an important place in the Dutch literary canon. He is both notable and controversial for being the first openly gay Dutch writer. The Evenings, his debut novel, describes the efforts of the 23-year-old Fritz Van Etgers’ to pass the hours over the course of ten days in 1946. As a novel it is a neurotic, darkly humorous and cynical treatise on youth in the Netherlands after World War II.

Fritz, a lowly office worker, lives with his parents and spends his evenings bouncing between friends in hopes of finding entertainment and meaning. In both his relationship with parents and his friends, he is rude, lazy, uncouth and completely insufferable. He tortures his acquaintances daily by teasing them about their coming baldness (a persistent theme throughout) or by poking fun at the dead and dying. Aging is the worst fate imaginable for Fritz. “Old people cause a lot of the world’s misery,” he says. “They contaminate our lives.” Yet the idea of aging carries a sort of spiritual weight in the novel. Fritz considers it an “abscess” of the “soul.” This decay of the soul alongside the body gives the book an interesting philosophical bent.

At the end of each evening, Fritz returns home to his parents, whom he completely despises. Reve is successful in framing Dutch post-war angst through Fritz’ relationship to his parents and others of their generation. The rejection of their manners and quirks seems concretely linked to blame for the horrors of World War II, something Fritz’ generation would have felt little responsibility for. And though the war is only mentioned on one occasion, the deep-rooted cynicism it creates flows through the book. The persistent impotence and resentment it instills manifests itself clearly in the book’s portrayal of youth.

Sexual repression is a major theme in the work, but it often appears in a subtler way. Fritz and his male acquaintances are deeply misogynistic, going so far as to state that women are incapable of logical thought. Yet in spite of the grotesque, often gruesome descriptions of everything else, Fritz has relatively little to say about sex with women. Nor does he say anything about attraction to men. His self-obsession seems to obstruct the possibility of attraction to others. Instead, the book is filled with strange scenes of Fritz examining himself closely in the mirror. There are occasional vague references to homosexuality that contribute to the pervasive sexual tension throughout. Maurits, one of Fritz’ strangest acquaintances, speaks at one point about his desire to “strangle little boys in the woods.” Fritz answers by teasing Maurits about his same-sex preferences, saying nothing of the criminal violence accompanying them. These dark, unsettling interactions make up a large part of the dialogue.

As its title suggests, The Evenings is about Fritz’ consuming desire for a night well spent. And while it is at many points elusive, the book is innovative in its use of language. Reve successfully evokes a strong sense of psychological unrest in the mind of reader. That said, The Evenings is a slog. The symbolism feels artificial and the characters are repulsive. Worse still, it is uninteresting. Over the course of roughly 300 pages (which felt twice as long), the reader has the sense of nothing changing except the hour on the clock. Perhaps this is Reve’s overarching message. But if that is indeed the case, I prefer to spend my evenings reading something else.


The Evenings by Gerard Reve

Translated by Sam Garrett

Pushkin Press

317 pages







WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less