I did not actually read the English version, but I assume ‘Out of Mind’ is the English title for the Dutch “Hersenschimmen” (more literal translation: figments of the. Hersenschimmen (Dutch Edition) [J Bernlef] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Results 1 – 12 of 12 Hersenschimmen by Bernlef, J. and a great selection of related books, art and collectibles available now at

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Maarten Klein, a Dutchman who has emigrated to the US, suddenly realizes he is losing grip on his once so familiar life, whether he likes it or not. Surrounded by a landscape filling up with snow it appears all tracks are being erased as he witnesses how reality is coming apart at the seams into chunks of isolated observations.

Memoreeks: J. Bernlef, Hersenschimmen by Bert Peene

hersenschimken Language appears to be the only remedy he has to give sense to all these fragmentary impressions. That is why he names as meticulously as he can, all that he thinks, feels and sees. So too, had his father noted down the air temperatures in carefully kept graphs, in search of a system that must somehow lie behind the facts. Bermlef quickly deteriorating Maarten knows there have always been explanations as to the facts of his life, but now he can no longer reach them.


Past and present, appearance and reality become one. He confuses his wife Vera with his first love, Karen, then with a whore, and then with his mother.

While out for a walk he breaks into a deserted building thinking he has to take down the minutes of a meeting. Slowly but surely he loses grip on his final mainstay: His sentences become shorter, he can no longer come up with the right words and finally even the voice in his head falls silent.

Even though Hersenschimmen deals indirectly with the problems of writing it has also been widely read in medical circles whose professional concerns are dementia and aphasia. It was made into a feature film. Bernlef brings such intensity to the telling of this horribly fascinating tale that we have a sense of accompanying Maarten hersenschjmmen his descent, not as observers but as participants in his tragedy. Bernlefwho debuted inhas produced an extensive body of work including poems, short stories, novels and essays.


Bernlef Out Hersenschijmen Mind. Language as a remedy.

J. Bernlef – Wikipedia

The New York Times. Leo van der Noort. Authors and translators Books.