The Discovery of Heaven Read-a-Long: Week 3

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 third part, which is The Beginning of the End.


Max, Sophia and the little Quinten have found a place to live, near Max’ work in Westerbork. It’s a great place, a castle that has been divided up into apartments. They settle down quickly and when Quinten is a little bigger he can be found visiting his various neighbours regularly.

Onno, Quinten’s father, has gone back to his old girlfriend Helga, but he doesn’t want to divorce Ada, who is still in a coma. His career is looking up, he becomes secretary of state – for a while. After that, the government changes and he’s been offered a Minister’s post. But digging in his past reveals his attendance at the conference in Cuba. He loses his job. For him, that is the ideal chance to find out what to do with his life: he disappears. He leaves a note saying that he does not want to be found. Only his solicitor knows where he is, but he will not say anything.

Meanwhile, Quinten grows up, becomes a teenager. From a very young age it’s been clear that he is very clever. He understands things very easily and surprises the adults around him with his insights. At school, he is not popular, and he himself has no interest in playing with other children. He has been having dreams about a building and tries to find out if it really exists.

Then, by a stroke of lightning, Max dies. Not long after he funeral, Quinten tells Sophia that he wants to leave so he can find his real father, Onno. Sophia pleads with him to finish school first, he’s 17 years old and only has one more year to go. But Quinten can’t wait, and leaves.


I loved the castle! How brilliant to be moving into a castle. That’s book-candy for me.

Quinten turns out to be a precocious child. Well, that didn’t surprise me one bit. That Max died was unexpected for me, but he probably isn’t needed anymore, so Mulish takes him out of the story.

I’m not sure what to expect next. Quinten will be looking for his father, but has he got any chance of finding him? I don’t really think so. Unless he finds a way to draw Onno out, which is what he’s plotting at the end of this section.

Read also Iris’ post about this thirdpart. Here.

What do you think of the third 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.

6 Responses to The Discovery of Heaven Read-a-Long: Week 3

  1. Suzanne says:

    I was SHOCKED when Max was killed and had to re-read that passage a few times to make sure that was what happened. I”m interested to see how part 4 will proceed.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I wasn’t sure at first either, Suzanne. I couldn’t believe it at first. I’m interested to see whether Quinten will find his father.

  2. Corri says:

    I should have started with you: have always wanted to read the Mulish book (being Dutch too) but somehow never got round to it. I think I’ll leave that now until I retire 🙂 Are you enjoying it? Are you reading the original Dutch or the English translation?

    • Leeswammes says:

      Corri, yes, I am enjoying it, although I do find it a little tedious at times.

      I seem to suffer from temporary amnesia OR I never knew you were Dutch. I’m reading the book in Dutch. I like to read books in their original language.

  3. RFW says:

    wow – looks like my kind of book – I need to get it and catch up.

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