Book Description: This affecting story is the basis of the Academy Awardâ€”winning film Character, named the best foreign film of 1998. In reviewing the film, Roger Ebert called the tale â€śdark, bitter, and fascinatingâ€”about hatred so deep that it can only be ended with a knife...It evokes some of the darker episodes of Dickens and also, in its focus on the grind of poverty and illegitimacy, reflects the twisted stories of family secrets by that grim Victorian, George Gissing. It is essentially the story of a young man growing up and making good, by pluck and intelligence, but all of his success comes out of the desire to spite his father.â€ť Ferdinand Bordewijkâ€™s protagonist is an illegitimate child, raised in a Rotterdam slum by an independent, self-respecting, and austere mother. The boyâ€™s father is a force of natureâ€”violent by design, grasping, and ruthless. Thye young manâ€™s rise is a quietly powerful saga. Bordewijk moves the reader because the facts in his novelâ€”the facts of lifeâ€”are arresting, pungent, and memorable.