Johanna : a novel concerning Amsterdam

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While an actual diary exists of the wife of Theo Van Gogh, the family repeatedly has denied public access. Thus, after much research, the author has created a very likeable, complex character of A richly detailed first novel about a hitherto unsung—at least in fiction—heroine of art history whose unswerving belief in her brother-in-law Vincent's genius preserved his legacy for posterity Claire Cooperstein.

At the heart of the novel is the struggle between Johanna's commitment to her husband's faith in his brother and her recognition of the primacy of Theo's love for Vincent. When she married Theo van Gogh, Johanna had everything she wanted - a husband who adored her, an exciting life as part of Paris's thriving art scene, and escape from a doting but oppressive father.

A grisly manuscript about killing one's wife gets another look since the author killed his.

Her happiness evaporated with Vincent's suicide. Adrienne becomes more worldly through these experiences but really comes to life when she travels to northern Canada to visit her childhood friend, Hank, at the site where he works. After the crowded and limited landscape of Europe, the wide open spaces, flocks of wildfowl and chains of rivers and lakes of Canada stun her with their magnificence and make her their own. Adrienne, with the help of Hank and a new love interest, Bert, another worker at the site, is granted permission to establish residency in Canada provided she marries within three months.

Johanna Van Zanten has created an intriguing view of a baby-boomer generation woman who has a background that is both sheltered and cosmopolitan. She is most alive when exploring, especially in her trip to the First Nations meeting, and when she sets up her garden, where she enjoys the visits from a local bear and marvels at the Aurora Borealis. She is less successful with her love interests. Bert, her husband, opts for a long-distance job oversees and forms an attachment to an Italian woman. When their marriage ends, she becomes a match maker for her friends and marvels at the reasons why people who seem perfectly matched can't seem to get past one or two dates.

Her efforts are likewise flawed, from the stiff and co-dependent British gent to the year-old pensioner from Boise who takes out his hearing aid at every concert they attend. Her dating life is sad and funny all at once, but what really stands out in this entertaining piece is the lyricism when the reader sees Canada for the first time through her eyes. View 1 comment.

10th USk Symposium Amsterdam - Workshops Writeup by USkSymposium - Issuu

Jul 12, Sam Jr. At first glance, "On Thin Ice" is not the sort of genre that I would be immediately attracted to. One gets the impression that it is a "woman's book," whatever that means. It is, indeed, the story of a woman from the Netherlands, growing up there, emigrating to Canada in later life. It appears to me to be largely autobiographical; the realization that these events actually happened in some form or At first glance, "On Thin Ice" is not the sort of genre that I would be immediately attracted to.

It appears to me to be largely autobiographical; the realization that these events actually happened in some form or another makes the stories a lot more interesting than if they were pure fiction. What I found particularly intriguing is the insight into Dutch culture, which makes the tales even more absorbing.

Johanna van Zanten's writing is crisp and polished.

Why Does Amsterdam Have So Many Bikes?

The events speak for themselves without slathering on heaps of purple prose resulting in a forced narrative which so many indie published authors, and too many traditionally published authors, fall prey to. The purpose of the book is to tell the life story of Adrienne Johanna? The characters are well fleshed out; they are real; you care for them. The dialog rings true. As I said, not a genre I would normally be drawn to, but the glimpses into Dutch culture were, for me, mesmerizing. That alone kept me reading. Imagine the impact this book would have on those who actively seek out these kinds of stories?

Four strong stars. I hope Johanna does well with this book. Jul 07, Lisa rated it it was amazing. In my informal but honest review I must share that I was excited to get this book downloaded as I had been anticipating reading it. I read it in about one day, which speaks volumes because if I am not captivated by a book I will easily get distracted and find other things to read. I loved it. I know the author as a friend and colleague, and it was interesting to read and hear her voice in my head.

She categorized this book as fiction, although, I could pick out scenarios that sounded awfully fam In my informal but honest review I must share that I was excited to get this book downloaded as I had been anticipating reading it.

On Thin Ice

She categorized this book as fiction, although, I could pick out scenarios that sounded awfully familiar! I really think that there needs to be a continuation or part two of On Thin Ice.

I love the authors description and insight into Adreiennes experiences. I laughed reading this book. I cried as well. I rejoiced for Adrienne. I believe that the purpose of reading, at least for me, is to draw out feelings, to escape, to walk in anothers shoes albiet a brief moment.


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Books allow us to share knowledge, experience and perspectives in life. I applaud Johanna van Zanten in creating such a well written book. What is next for Adrienne????!!! Jul 10, Andrew Lawston rated it really liked it. On Thin Ice follows a single baby boomer character Adrienne through from her early dating experiences around Europe through to middle age across a dozen masterfully written short stories.

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Johanna van Zanten takes her character around the world and on to the web from youthful passion to dabbling in online dating. The stories are crafted, gentle but rewarding reads with a strong central character. Although Johanna van Zanten was a new name to me in terms of her writing, I will certainly keep a clo On Thin Ice follows a single baby boomer character Adrienne through from her early dating experiences around Europe through to middle age across a dozen masterfully written short stories. Although Johanna van Zanten was a new name to me in terms of her writing, I will certainly keep a close eye out for her next book.

One strength of Adrienne's adventures is not so much the way in which the dating world has changed in the last 45 years, but really the ways in which it remains the same. Many of the challenges, temptations and anxieties Adrienne experiences as a younger woman in the late s will be instantly familiar to much younger readers today! Mar 16, B. Morrison rated it liked it. The title is a bit misleading since these linked short stories about a woman named Adrienne start when she is However, they do follow her into her 50s, and they are about finding love and finding a place for herself in the world.

And I do mean the world. The narrative flow is good, and the voice interesting, if mild.

The stories contain some unusual events such as a The title is a bit misleading since these linked short stories about a woman named Adrienne start when she is The stories contain some unusual events such as a canoe trip on the mighty McKenzie River to attend a Native American pow wow. But mostly the stories catalogue the ups and downs of an ordinary life: love found and lost, the death of a parent, difficulties with teenaged children.

There is a curious evenness of tone which under other circumstances might not have held my attention, but provided the restful interludes I needed during a long, difficult day of travel. The lack of strong dramatic ups and downs building to a climax in part comes from the preponderance of narration. The stories are narrated in a calm and assured voice, with a few half-scenes narration interrupted with some lines of dialogue. Where there are fully dramatised scenes, they tend to be mostly dialogue without the actions and reactions that ratchet up the dramatic emotion.

View all 3 comments. Sandra rated it it was ok Jul 11, Mica rated it liked it Sep 26, Sharron rated it liked it Oct 06, Taylor Painter added it May 08, Ericka Johnson marked it as to-read May 08, Muhammad Waqas Ahamd added it May 09, Elaine marked it as to-read May 13, Marie marked it as to-read May 23, Amanda Skjoldal marked it as to-read May 25, Daniose added it Jun 02, Kristen Ratcliffe marked it as to-read Jun 05, Danielle Klizas marked it as to-read Jun 12, Amanda marked it as to-read Jun 12, Helen marked it as to-read Jun 13, Laura Dennis added it Jun 17, Sophie marked it as to-read Jun 18, Janelle marked it as to-read Jun 18,