For a Lost Soldier

For a Lost Soldier

by Rudi van Dantzig

For a Lost Soldier is an artfully told story of love and loss during wartime. The author skillfully creates the mood of uncertainty and lurking danger in the opening pages when eleven year old Jeroen is about to be separated from his family for the first time in his life, due to food shortages in German-occupied Amsterdam. The dangerous journey to Friesland, the homesickness he feels upon his arrival.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 4.05
  • Pages: 272
  • Publish Date: September 1st 1996 by Gay Men's Press
  • Isbn10: 0854492372
  • Isbn13: 9780854492374

What People Think about "For a Lost Soldier"

The book was even more amazing than the movie.

What moved me in the film was the way Jerone was drawn to Walt and the boy's fear. I was amazed to discover that about a third of the novel is given over to the boy's experience when he returns to Amsterdam after the war is ended. It is in the last part of the novel that the reader is aware of a disconnectedness that emerges for Jerone; he looks for his former lover and feels detached from the life he has returned to. At the end of the novel the reader encounters the strong impact of Walt on the boy. In 1980 when the Canadian soldiers return to Amsterdam to celebrate the Anniversary of the end of the war, Jerone makes an effort to locate Walt, but to no success.

As an extremely difficult book to find, the few English editions available are priced quite expensively, most ranging from $100 to $200 on any given site. Even when Im not reading it, I still revisit my favorite scenes, particularly the heartbreaking ending. I am far from fluent in Dutch, so reading the original edition would have been impossible, though its clear the beauty of van Dantzigs writing was occasionally lost in translation, which leaves a variety of scenes poorly described and less fulfilling.

I thought it was well-written, based upon Jeroen's point of view, and there was certainly more detail to his story. My disappointment is completely based on the depiction of Walt in the book.

Gerry B's Book Reviews - In preparation for this weeks review, I went in search of a gay Canadian novel in all the usual places (including, but I may as well have gone searching for a unicorn! The book and the film differ quite significantly, especially in the way the ending is constructed, but the basic story outline is the same. Jeroen revels in the attention shown by Cook, and a relationship is formed between them that eventually becomes sexual in nature.

In the film, the soldier was true-hearted and wanted but did not know how to tell Jeroen about his deployment or departure. In the novel, he just went vanished without bothering leaving a note or giving the boy a last glance that the author hoped for even at the end of his life. That Walt would have sex with his comrades on his way back to his native country never thinking of Jeroen broke into my head and sadden me so easily even after having read the book for some time.

The exceptional account of Jeroen - aka the author - has actually leaved a remarkable sign on my reader experience, differing by the movie on many ways, because of the psicology itself of every work: from the approaching of the protagonist - a way more scared, protection needing little child of 11 - to sexuality, to the Walt's aspect itself: a not "romantic", not "gentle", not "handsome" young motivated man on his 20's - a sensitive tribute of the director to the Rudi Van Dantzig's desire and lovely memory of these age - but an effectively uncaring, aggressive, scary-looking and way older beast longing for a prey to sex with and abuse to.

The story evoked in me my own longingperhaps universal among some gay menfor a beautiful strong young man who will love and protect the boy-me.

Van Dantzig published a biography of the Dutch artist and resistance fighter Willem Arondeus in 2003.