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article imageOp-Ed: UC Berkeley professor turns biographical skills into 'chic lit' Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Dec 6, 2012 in Entertainment
Berkeley - With some important biographical works accomplished like the intense "Silenced Voices," University of California professor Inez Hollander has put her writing talents into a new novel called, "Euro Trippy."
This reporter had a moment to contact Hollander who teaches languages, creative writing and literature at UC Berkeley. She explained the basic premise of "Euro Trippy. "The book is an encounter between the Old World and New World, as well as East and West, for while the American characters travel to Europe in a quest for identity and meaning, they end up in Turkey where, in a twist of fate, they are pulled into the American War on Terror," she said.
More than ago this reporter was introduced to Hollander through a co-worker/colleague, San Francisco realtor Cornelia de Schepper. At the time, de Schepper talked about "Silenced Voices" as a powerful intense book worth reviewing.
Having the privilege to speak to Hollander she opened up a part of World War II history that few know about and was totally unknown to this reporter. Hollander did mentioned her efforts on a work of fiction. Yet for most of her academic career she completed scholarly works. Hollander's historical account of a Dutch family in Indonesia took up a lot of time. Tracing the horrific experience immediately after World War II was not easy.
With allied forces exhausted from fighting in Europe and in the Pacific, insurgent rebel forces within Indonesia saw the perfect opportunity to attack. A major revolt against long-established Colonial power occurred in 1945. The Dutch families living there became a target of repressed hostility. Very little was said about this chapter in 20th Century Dutch History and Hollander wanted to know what happened, despite limited access and piece-meal information. As it turned out some of the victims of that terrible uprising were her relatives. Through careful research and undaunted determination Hollander managed to find a surviving member of the Francken family who lived in what was then called, "The Dutch Indies."
The experience was not only informative about a neglected piece of Dutch History, but it was also healing. So for this reporter, it is easy to understand why Hollander would write a novel that involved travel, adventure and some complexity.
"Henry Miller was the prime inspiration," she said,-- not so much the Miller of the early works but the Henry Miller of the later (Big Sur) years when he became more and more philosophical and Zen," she said.
Miller was both a painter and controversial writer. His "Tropic of Cancer" was something new in the American literary scene mixing a story-line with social commentary, philosophy and surreal "free-association." In 1934 this new "mixed style" caused his works during the 1930s to be banned because of obscenity and the erotic references which at the time were considered pornographic.
"Miller is overlooked (because of the typecasting and rejection of the 'Tropic' books) and rejected, so people never know about his later years and his critique of America, said Hollander, which he exchanged for a more Buddhist, Epicurean and satisfying reality."
"America could really use a dose of what Henry Miller has to say about life because in a sense, said Hollander. Because "we have lost our way, she noted. "We live in a very polarized society (maybe more so since the acrimonious elections), in which the one percent owns much of what is America."
"And, she explained, the idealism of say, a Robert F. Kennedy who dared to stand up for the poor and disenfranchised is almost non-existent. Hollander noted further, "(even Hollywood stars tend to go to the Third World - developing countries - to speak about poverty there, or open schools/orphanages) when the US poor live under our very eyes."
Inez Hollander  an academic and an author
Inez Hollander, an academic and an author
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Hollander's novella is available in Kindle edition. To purchase a copy of "Euro Tripy" go to
'I am rambling a bit now, she said, and I don't want readers to think this is a very political or preachy book." Yet, she insisted, "It is pure chick lit, with parody and a fun read," she said. "While Henry Miller is only present as a kind of Greek chorus, she said, to show the way and embrace what is good and worth fighting for in life."
And so far reviews have been favorable as Sue from Golden, Colorado posted her thoughts to say, "what a wonderful mélange of literature, history, cultural influences and differences, romance and mid-life crisis." "I do believe that only Inez Hollander could accurately capture all that at once; so honestly and with such dry wit. I loved her characters," she said. Sue also appreciated the 'Henry Miller-like-style, by adding, "I thoroughly enjoyed this creatively woven tale with the author interjecting her own editorial notes and adding her nagging conscience to the equation."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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