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Less is more

Posted by on March 18, 2013

I have been sidetracked the last week or so by a book called The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell.   It is a story of a man who owns a lace factory in post-warFrance, but was a former SS intelligence officer in World War II.  This is his memoir.  It is a fictional tale, but reads like a genuine autobiography making me think that Littell more than usually well informed about the very personal stories of the German Military and Nazi party lives pre and post-war.

Now, I know this has nothing to do with my research and of story the eighteenth century artistic family, the van Heackens, but I am curious about the way Littell imparts the most graphic information about the effect of war on civilians, death camps and nationalistic politics in such a matter of fact fashion that losses none of horror.   The book is an exercise in the practise of ‘less is more’.

The Kindly Ones has helped me think about how I might impart any information about van Heacken family’s life in a war torn Netherlands as it changed from the Spanish to Austrian Empire ownership.  I am assuming the battles, which at times included all European countries on one side or another, must have spurred Petrus and Barbara van Heacken to decide to migrate to London from Antwerp with their sons Joseph and Alexander.


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