Book Review: Tomorrow Pamplona by Jan van Mersbergen

Tomorrow Pamplona by Jan van Mersbergen

This book has received so much blogging hype that I had to see for myself. Is it worth the hype? No, it’s just a nice book of which there are so many. It was a good read, in a way.

I think this book may be typically Dutch, or at least, we have many more books like this. Many of the younger generation of writers have a similar understated writing style. And the number of pages is in the range of many literary fiction books in the Netherlands, too.

Tomorrow Pamplona: What it is about

Boxer Danny is running away from his last fight. When he can get a lift from a man on his way to the Spanish town of Pamplona, he decides to come along with him. They travel all night to get to Pamplona the next day so they can join in the yearly bull run, where a number of bulls are let loose in the streets and brave people run ahead of them in a kind of death-defying exercise.

Danny isn’t very talkative but it is clear that something bad has happened recently. Robert, the driver of the car, attempts to find out whether it was a fight he lost, or something to do with a woman, maybe.

Danny doesn’t explain much but clearly has a lot of anger inside him. Will he be able to contain this anger, or take it out on Robert? And what happened anyway?

The book switches from the now to the recent past, so the reader gets more insight in what happened with Danny to make him so angry.

Tomorrow Pamplona: What I thought

The writing style was great. A very understated book, not a word too many. Generally short paragraphs and a lot of dialogue.

Still, if it wasn’t for that, I would have given the book 3 stars. My problem: I don’t care one bit about boxers. In fact, I prefer not to read about them and their (often shady) world. Furthermore, I don’t like men with an abundance of muscle or men that may explode into a rage for no obvious reason at all.

I don’t like the Pamplona bull stuff either. Bulls in Pamplona are scary, dangerous and even deadly animals. I wish everyone luck who thinks they should participate in an event like that, but I don’t need to know about it, or read about it.

So, there was very little for me in this book to like. But the story was well-set up and the reader slowly starts to understand what happened to Danny. That was well done, and if I had liked the locations and situations of the book better, it would have been a really good book for me. The only thing I could sort-of associate with in a positive way, was the drive to Spain – which I’ve done, albeit a different route.

Rating: 4/5

I got this book: from the library

I read this in: Dutch (Morgen zijn we in Pamplona), the original language

Number of pages: 192

First published: 2007

Genre: contemporary fiction, literary fiction

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

7 Responses to Book Review: Tomorrow Pamplona by Jan van Mersbergen

  1. parrish says:

    Hi, I’m little bit confused about why you read this, with your dislike of Boxers & Bullruns, I think that if I was in your place, I may have put the book back down unread as something that would not appeal at a core level, Especially in the case of this book whose tale is sandwiched between the boxing & the Pamplona Bullrun, thanks for your perspective as It’s given me some more things to ponder concerning this book.
    PS. Change of Subject am Loving the hop.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Paarish,

      You’re so right! But after all the hype, it had to be good, right? I didn’t know the whole book was about the boxer and the bulls (well, almost).

      Also, I guess it helped that it was a short book, so I thought it wouldn’t take a lot of my time if it wasn’t any good. Still, I gave it 4 stars so there is something good about this novel!

  2. Nadine Nys says:

    Just like you, Judith, I never could relate to a story about boxing and bullrun. Amazing though that you gave it four stars.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Nadine, loose from what my interests are, it still was a good read. I just would have enjoyed it much better if there wasn’t this unpleasant boxer as main character and if they’d done the tomato throwing in Italy or wherever they do that. 🙂

  3. Thanks for reviewing, made me decide not to read it 🙂 I wondered about your rating too, so thanks for explaining it.

  4. Pingback: An Overview of Posts for Dutch Literature Month (2) | Iris on Books

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