Eddy Raats is already deservedly well known in the Esperanto community. It was a surprise when he published an autobiographical work, “The Long Journey” (2009), in which the experiences he recounted gripped the reader until the final page. As a four-year-old in Switzerland, where he had been sent for tuberculosis treatment, he suffered an untold grief and misery. Esperantists are particularly struck by the linguistic discriminación this young Flamish-speaker faced in a French-langish environment.
And yet, here is the sequel, «Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire”, in which, ironically, the now French-speaking child returns to his Flamish-speaking home only to find himself dependent on his most brutal tormentor, the only speaker of French in his milieu. We anxiously follow his story right up to its astonishing conclusion. And once again, we are chilled by the near fatal consequences of language difference…
Although this book is presente as a series of episodes, we are a le to discern a progresión in them, e en if each separarte aventure already seems to presenta a clímax. The author's yearning, his dteadfast refusal to hate, his subjrction to the terrible effects of alcohol supposefly brought on by his stepfather's experiences during the war and also during the post-war crisis, his hopeless flight from sexual abuse (this the e was also presente in the earlier book), his increasi gly exhausted mother's behaviour towards him, and finally, almost superfluously, a shocking revelación, all this is brought to life in this book. If a number of the se the es echo “La Infana Raso” (a famous work in verse by the well-known Esperanto autor WilliamAuld), another parallel imposes itself here: the role of hipocritical priests.
Do not expect this book to be a ponderous social or psychological novel, though. It contains truly funny scenes, for Edgar and his brouther were spirited young boys, despiste the excessive, adult tasks imposed on them. And the scene whith the little sister, who overcame the horror of her environment to become a consummate artist, is heartwarming.