Oeroeg (translated into English as "The Black Lake") is the first novel by Hella Haasse. First published anonymously in 1948, it has become one of the best-known Dutch novels and a staple of literary education for many Dutch school children. The novel, a Bildungsroman, is set in the Dutch East Indies, and tells the story of an anonymous narrator growing up on a plantation in the Dutch colony West Java. His childhood friend is a boy of the same age, but of native descent. As the narrator grows up he finds himself becoming estranged from his friend, as a result of the political and racial circumstances of colonial life. After having served in the army during World War II, he returns to his native land, only to be told that this is not where he belongs, and that he must leave.
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