Johanna van Zanten


A member of the boomer cohort, I am intrigued by how this generation deals with aging, gracefully, or not so gracefully and whether we may have passed on our virtues and vices to our children. Raised and educated in the Netherlands during the post war (WWII) years, I immigrated to Canada in my early thirties to join a Canadian man and spent some time in central and Northern Alberta during my first ten years in Canada. Via marriage, with a child, various jobs in First Nations communities, a move to beautiful British Columbia, a divorce and a return to university, followed by a job in child protection, I reached the point of life in which fictional creation using my experiences seemed unavoidable, hence my presence on this site. Joeke


This member has not published any books.

Smashwords book reviews by Johanna van Zanten

  • A Sad, Sad Symphony on July 27, 2012
    (no rating)
    Christian Mihai A Sad, Sad Symphony This story has similarities with the story Remember, also narrated in a lyrical voice and with sad, romantic themes. It is well written; the author has obvious literary qualities. Old Fransisc Goyer, a violinist, wants to create art in a wish to become immortal. When he gets discouraged, he reads Goethe and gets inspiration from it. He once had a lover, but she left him, leaving a hole in his soul. She left her cello behind, but he does not dare playing on it, hoping that one day she'd come back. The reality and dream world merge in this short story, when Old Fransisc writes a perfect, brilliant symphony under great inspiration. When he is finished, he wants to show his work to his friend Oliver Carter. The next scenario is about a story teller named Oscar. We find him in an opium den, where guests eagerly wait to listen to his stories. In the room Oscar spots a young boy, extraordinarily beautiful, and he wants to dedicate the story he is going to tell to the boy: but he attaches one condition to telling the story: that it not be written down. When he is finished, the boy asks him why not to write it down, as it almost perfect, and should be shared with the world. The boy confesses that he wants to become immortal. Oscar refuses and predicts that one day people will stop judging an artist on his art and a Mr. M, a critic of Oscar's excentric lifestyle, introduces the boy to Oscar as his newest follower, explaining that this is Mr. Wilde. The story Oscar told is the story of Dorian Gray, the immortal young man. The wish to strive for perfection in art becomes the hot topic of the debate in the room. Flash back to old Fransisc Goyer who late at night is on his way to his friend with the sheets of paper containing his perfect symphony. What then happens will be spoiler alert, so I will not divulge more than to say it is the culmination of his wish to bring a perfect symphony to the world and signifies the title of the story. Johanna van Zanten