There are some books that remind me of European art house films. There are interesting concepts but sometimes the director can go a bit overboard with ideas and you start to become a bit restless. At least that’s what happens to me (funnily enough usually it’s the artsy French films which make me do this)
The Laws is no different. The plot revolves around a young Catholic country girl who tries to find some meaning in her life and eventually turns to Philosophy.In due course she meets seven people from seven different professions and they all contribute to her worldview in some way or another. By the end of the novel she falls in love with an artist, which is a disaster and she wonders if she was better off not a simple person, than one who thinks a lot.
Obviously there’s much more than this. Each profession has some sort of moral code which the girl tries to break into and vice versa and once she understands that person she moves on. Some pieces are very funny ( The Priest is brilliant) and others propose some challenging Philosophical predicaments.
I felt though that there was something lacking maybe I found the novel a bit fragmented at times, even veering towards the artsy Euro-pretension that sometimes afflicts these types of novels but The Laws is definitely not a book I would slag off and I’m wondering why it’s out of print considering that it was a best seller in the author’s native Holland. It just needs one little detail and this would be a perfect book.