Book Talk: HEX, Chapter 18

Posted January 18, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Bilingual read-through of HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

List of Prominent Characters

So, the NL and EN tags are the ones actually used in the story. If it’s listed for both then it’s a shorthand I’m using to note which of the characters is which. Where no name for ‘both’ is included I haven’t used a name for both. (Expect this list to get updated per chapter!)

  • Beek (NL), Black Spring/Black Rock (EN), Black Beek (both)
  • Stefan (NL), Steve (EN), Ste (both)
  • Katherina (NL), Katherine (EN), Kat (both), aka Wylerheks (NL), Black Rock Witch (EN) Wyler Witch (both)
  • Jolanda (NL), Jocelyn (EN), Jo (both)
  • Timo (NL), Tyler (EN), Tiy (both)
  • Oma (NL), Gramma (EN), Granny (both)
  • Max (NL), Matt (EN), Maxmatt (both)
  • Robert Grim (NL, EN)
  • Claire Hamer (NL), Claire Hammer (EN)
  • Jens van der Heijden (NL), Warren Castillo (EN), Jenren (both)
  • Jasmine Aerendonck (NL), Bammy Delarosa (EN), Jasmy (both)
  • The Aerandoncks/The Delarosas, Aerenrosa (both)
  • Martijn Winkel (NL), Marty Keller (EN),Winler (both)
  • Loes Krijgsman (NL), Lucy Everett (EN), Loucy (both)
  • Pieter van Meerten (NL), Pete VanderMeer (EN), Pete van Meer (both)
  • Marieke (NL), Mary (EN), Marie (both)
  • Laurens (NL), Lawrence (EN), Lau (both)
  • Jelmer Holst (NL), Jaydon Holst (EN), Jaymer (both)
  • Mirna (NL), Sue (EN)
  • Burak Sayers (NL), Burak Şayers (EN)
  • Bert Aerendonck (NL), Burt Delarosa (EN)
  • Gemma Holst (NL), Griselda Holst (EN), Gemelda (both)
  • Kobus Mater (NL), Colton Mathers (EN) Colbus (both)

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children’s bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town’s teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

In chapter 17: We learned that Tiy is Ste’s top priority. Tiy also confides in his father after suffering a mental collapse of some sort and his father decides that the best possible solution is to delete the whole OYE site, destroy all the evidence and tell the Council about the stoning. Because Tiy accidentally taped it. I may have forgotten to mention that last time.

Chapter 18 – Scene 1

I wish, I really wish, this book was clearer on the way time progresses and when it jumps back and forth. It’s really annoying. Just a few well-placed tenses would make the whole ‘what happens when’ a lot easier to follow.

*SCREAMS* I HATE GRIM I HATE HIM I HATE HIM SO MUCH WHY CAN’T HE JUST DIE YET LIKE A GOOD HORROR STORY CHARACTER?!

More on point: he has, one again completely needlessly, derided a woman’s physical appearance. In fact, this is how the description goes: “Eve Modjeski was a featherbrained fool with rather nice tits but too much forehead, for whose creation Grim would gladly have parted with a rib – although after the Mayan remark he might be inclined to yank it right back and replace it in his own body, with or without Eve attached”.

I CANNOT EVEN WORD I HATE THIS DUDE SO MUCH. The Dutch version is, somehow, even worse. The translator at least softened the description a little in to say ‘yank’ rather than ‘violently yanked’ which is a little more accurate in its intensity. ‘Yank’ after all doesn’t necessarily have to be violent. Quick and abrupt, yes. Inherently violent, no?

And of course, the Dutch name used is Eefje Kamphues, so while Eefje is definitely a diminutive of ‘Eva’ (or ‘Eve’ or names starting in ‘Eve’) and the link to the Biblican story stays intact either way, the English offers you more ambiguity in which one is meant.

Wow, Grim is actually possible of fantasizing horrible things on people without thinking about their genitals.

And then we get some more misogyny thrown Gemelda’s way and I’m just not going to repeat it. I am, however, going to point out that Claire, who calls them out on this ridiculous nonsense does so out of pity for Gemelda’s life so far and not because, say, misogyny is unacceptable behaviour.

Gemelda is walking with ‘the grace of a Polish cossack’ in Dutch and that of ‘a Ukrainain warship’ in English.

And just because I am a horrible person, I want to note that there is a line about how the town came through these latest of the Witch’s miseries. The Dutch word used is ‘weeën’ which doubles as meaning ‘contractions’ which, given the text’s earlier use of describing the blood in the creek as a ‘placenta’ and part of the whole issue with Kat’s original story revolving around her children, I’m just not willing to give a pass on. Olde Heuvelt would’ve known about this meaning. Would, in fact, have known that it was the more common Dutch meaning of the word nowadays and would, I expect, have picked it deliberately because of its connotations with childbirth and the way it ties in with the imagery he’s already used and the themes he’s brought into play before this point.

Chapter 18 – Scene 2

We have some more changed names and locations, but nothing really noteworthy beyond the fact that Ste is telling the people who work at HEX what’s happened and someone died of a stroke at exactly the same time as Kat was being stoned by Jaymer and company.

Now here’s a big, if understandable change, the Emergency Decree – we’ve seen it mentioned a few times before, though I personally may not have mentioned it that often in these posts – originally comes from the middle ages in the Dutch version. In the English version it’s the 18th century. There’s also a line about how it’s all old-fashioned nonsense and we’re living in a modern progressive Western country so there’s no way we’re actually going to use the punishments in the Decree, but it’s a horror book. Of course we totally are going to be using those punishments.

Especially with the way the rest of the chapter just foreshadows it.

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