Small Souls is the first of a series of four novels describing the fortunes of the Van Lowe family and known in Holland by the generic title of The Books of the Small Souls. The remainder will be translated and published if and as the antecedent volumes find favour with English and American readers. They are called: The Later Life, The Twilight of the Souls and Dr. Adriaan.
that clung in masses of woolly dampness to the roofs and tree-tops; the wind whistled from the north-west and skimmed over the rippling puddles; the trees dripped as heavily as though it were still raining; and the pale-yellow light in the clouded street-lamps shimmered down upon the street. Hardly any one was out of doors so early after dinner; a man, carrying a parcel, left a shop and shuffled close to the houses, with wide, hurrying legs.
Dorine tripped across the puddles in her goloshes, hugging herself in her old-fashioned, long fur cloak. And she talked to herself and muttered out loud. She grumbled at the rain, grumbled at all the trouble which Mamma had given her that day, sending her to all the brothers and sisters, for Constance' sake.... And you'd see, Constance wouldn't even be grateful to her, Constance would think it only natural.... Every one always thought it only natural, that Dorine should run about for the family; and no one was ever really grateful.... Every one was selfish, Mamma i
Not for those looking for an action-packed plot. Nevertheless an insightful glimpse into middle-class, late-nineteenth century Dutch society, the proximity of colonialism, the stifling obligations of respectability, the comforts and the constraints that the small-souled characters are unable to challenge or escape.