The Discovery of Heaven Read-a-Long: Week 2

I’m joining in Iris on Books’ read-a-long of The Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulish (1992), a book by a Dutch writer. I’m Dutch myself (as Iris is) and so it’s great fun to do a read-a-long of a countryman’s big tome. Big it is, over 900 pages.

For this week, we read the second part, which is The End of the Beginning.


First Ada gets arrested for shoplifting, but let go again by a friendly police officer. She also finds out she is pregnant. Onno is delighted, but Max knows it could just as well be his baby. Onno and Ada get married, in a slightly unconventional way (Onno’s family doesn’t approve of the way it’s done, but at least they’re married).

The three friends go to Westerbork, to look at the telescopes and Max’ working space. But in the middle of the night, they are called because Ada’s father has been taken to hospital. The weather is awful and as it’s dark, the drive back is very heavy going. When they have to stop for a tree that has fallen onto the road, another tree hits the car and Ada goes into a coma.

When Max goes to visit Ada’s mother, Sophia, to tell her the bad news, she offers him a bed for the night, and in the dark, she joins him in bed and has sex with him. She invites Max over more often, and although they don’t talk about it during the day, at night the same thing happens every time. Her husband has died the same night he fell ill.

Onno’s family have a meeting to decide who should look after the baby, as Ada is still in coma, and Onno, as a man, can’t be expected to look after it by himself. But then Max has an idea: Ada’s mother will come with him to Westerbork and look after the baby and him, as a kind of housekeeper. No one besides Max and Sophia know that they have been sleeping together. Onno decides that that seems the best solution. Too early, the baby is born, by Caesarian section. Onno calls him Quinten.


I’m enjoying the story. I guess Ada is of no further use so she is out of the way in a coma. Also, this gives Max (who we know is the real father) the possibility to look after the baby.

I’m a bit worried that the baby will start to look like Max and that Onno will find out about the deceit at some point. And what will happen to Ada? If the idea is that the baby stays with Max, then she certainly can’t ever wake up again (and it doesn’t look like she will).

I was keen to keep reading, but I will keep to the schedule of the read-a-long!

Read also Iris’ post about this second part. Here.

What do you think of the second part?

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

11 Responses to The Discovery of Heaven Read-a-Long: Week 2

  1. Lian says:

    I think the second part of the book is equally good as the first one. I really love this book and I’m gkad I decided to participate 🙂

    • Leeswammes says:

      Lian, I liked this second part better, but generally, it’s a good story. I wouldn’t have read it (again) if it wasn’t for the read-a-long and I take it, it’s the same for you. So nice to discover a great book.

  2. Lena says:

    Sounds good so far. It’s good you are reading it with others so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Atleast for me it works best. I am reading Shantaram and it’s over 900 pages too, but I am reading with a group so it helps. Great job leeswammes.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Lena, I read *Shantaram* on my own a few years ago. I was a little daunted by the size, but I found it very interesting. I enjoyed it a lot. Hope you’re having a good time with it too.

  3. Suzanne says:

    It’s becoming a page-turner for me — so many little twists that I don’t see coming. I’m not sure about the Max/Sophia parenting combo but I’m sure it will be interesting.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Same here, Suzanne. It’s a bit of a page turner, but I did restrain myself and stopped after part 2 – will continue in a few days.

  4. Cindy says:

    Look forward to finding out how the story pans out.

  5. Erika says:

    From your discussion section, this sounds like a soap opera or something like that. I hope I’ll have a chance to read some longer books soon then maybe I can get to it sooner rather than later.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Well, I guess the bottom line IS a soap opera, Erika. But there’s more going on, as the baby’s parents have been brought together by heavenly intervention. I probably read it at the wrong level (the simplest one) but it’s enjoyable.

  6. Alex says:

    Was a bit upset that he decided to get rid of Ada like this and the Max + Sophia part doesn’t exactly … flow, but I’m enjoying it.

    I think Onno will discover it sooner of later.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I feel the same, Alex! Max and Sophia are an incongruous couple. But hey, they’re raising Max’ baby, and that seems to be what counts.

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