I.M. Ischa Meijer.In Margine. In Memorian.
( published in 1998 ) written by Connie Palmen
, one of the finest contemporary Dutch writers
is her third novel after The Laws
( 1991 )and The Friendship
( 1995 ).
All her novels share strong biographical connotations, but I.M. is openly biographical about the four years ( from 1991 to 1995 ) she spent with Ischa Meijer, who died in 1995 due to a heart attack. Ischa Meijer was a journalist, entertainer and talkmaster in the Netherlands.
The novel opens with how Connie and Ischa meet in the street in Amsterdam a week after they first met in February 1991 after he interviewed her about The Laws. The first scene is symbolical for their relationship- they see each other, know that each of them was just on their way to meet the other and both simultaneously wet their pants.
That marks the beginning of their relationship, for each of them the beginning of the love of their lives, an obssessive love, four years of spending almost every single moment together knowing that they were meant for each other, isolating themselves, neglecting older friendships and relationships, but at the same time giving each other space to breathe and to be free.
That´s how I read it at least.
There is no plot to summarize, no structure apart from a chronolocical procedure she breaks through at times, but how Connie Palmen tries to explain to herself and her readers her emotions, her feelings and her thoughts. I.M. isn´t a sentimental novel that makes you cry on every second page.
When I first started reading I thought I disliked them both, their dependence on each other, the conversations that occur beween them in the novel. These aren´t necessarily likable, everyday characters. But when I went on reading I realized that even though their concept of living doesn´t fit mine, Connie Palmen creates two real people, she is very honest with herself and her past and even the most unreceptive reader, I´m sure of that, realizes in the end that the love these two people lived and shared was something so special in its uncompromising radicalism that most of us can only dream of ever experiencing a similar love and time. ( If we want to , that is ).