Library of Cultural References

  • Library: Cultural References in Books

Mothers Are Dangerous With Knives (Moeders zijn gevaarlijk met messen)

by Do van Ranst [Davidsfonds/Infodok - 2008]
ISBN-13: 9789059082762
ASIN: 905908276

Monica sent the following, even translating the book from Dutch to English:

I found a reference to Joni in a children's book by Belgian writer Do van Ranst. In the book the 13 year-old boy, Jef, is sitting with his friend, Suleyman, on the stairs of their apartment building and he talks about Joni. I think it's very nice.

"Canada is a beautiful country", he says after a while. As if we were really there, looking at it.

"Joni Mitchell was born there", I say.

I feel him nodding and I wonder if he knows that Joni Mitchell is a singer my mother loves very much.

With my eyes closed I start humming the beginning of Don't Interrupt The Sorrow, my and my mom's favorite song, on which we dance barefoot, my mother with loose hair. My mother never wears her hair loose, she does it only if we dance on that song. Mom's hair is long. Longer then other mothers' hair. I always pay attention to this when I see mothers. Immediately, at the first sounds of that song, she pulls the rubber band out of her hair in one uninterrupted movement, and her hair rolls onto her back as a wave onto the beach. We make little jumps on the sound of the conga and move our hips in little circles on the sound of the bass which, when I turn the volume till nine, I can feel in my belly. Don't interrupt the sorrow, sings my mother then.

Darn right
In flames our prophet witches
Be polite

I think. For one second it is as if, behind a door on the second floor, the song really starts playing, but that's not possible of course. Nobody is crazy about Joni nowadays, my mother once told me (...)

"Isn't it a beautiful song?" Süleyman says when I stop humming. He hums further and for a little while it seems as if it sounds as it should.

I shrug my shoulders. "You don't really know this song."

"Yes I do," Süleyman says.

Monica included this additional information:

I also just read on the writer's site that this book (title in Dutch: Moeders zijn gevaarlijk met messen ; meaning mothers are dangerous with knives) has been nominated for a price that will be presented to the winner on September 12th. The writer is also a big Joni fan of course.

Monica, thank you for all the effort you've put into getting the information to us!

(Contributed by Monica)


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