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Reflections on a roundworm

Something Inside Us Bowed Low

Jan Lauwereyns

Yuji Kohara is a molecular biologist who is researching the roundworm, C. elegans. One evening he accidentally gets off the metro a stop early. His absentmindedness sets him on the trail of an old flame. What follows is a long night, a restless week and a strange rest of the year.

We learn that, since his wife’s death from an illness, Kohara has lost his way. At home, his mother-in-law has taken charge of the housekeeping and of his daughter, but he is also falling short as the head of his department at the university. Kohara is almost a man without qualities, constantly plagued by doubt. But sooner or later the confused scientist will have to come to his senses and make a decision.

Breathtakingly beautiful: the thinking is at the highest level, as is the emotion *****
De Standaard

‘Something Inside Us Bowed Low’ is a small but heroic battle with the little nightmares of ordinary life. In brief chapters, Kohara’s thoughts and doubts meander until they begin to lead a life of their own. The novel is constructed as a series of lyrical and essayistic cantos about subjects including love, fatherhood, Dante’s 'Divina Commedia', the sex life of roundworms, vivisection on American prisoners of war, and the emptiness at the beginning of every motion.

The starring role is reserved for the pure poetry that splashes off every page
Pastoral wonder; that is exactly what this highly original novel evokes
De Groene Amsterdammer