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Fragments of a Journey

A Fistful of Life

Fragments of A Journey, A Fistful of Life

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One thing that makes this book unique is the arrangement of the words. I sometimes had the feeling I have when reading poetry. Jose De Koster is an easy writer. I can’t describe the arrangement in the book as entire prose, or partly poetic, what I know is that the author told his story in a distinct way, making his work exceptional on all levels. I first fell in love with the pictures in the book. The self-portraits, oil on hardboard images and oil on canvas were all beautiful pieces of art. My favorite was the painting of ‘The Lonely Artist’. A picture is truly worth a thousand words. It did not stop there – Jose De Kroser also added pictures of his family in between his writing. I know I spent a good part of my time just looking at the pictures.

The author first introduces us to his life through his mother’s words. The mother encouraged him to keep writing as she had hoped he would become a journalist. Jose De Koster fell in love with words at a very tender age. Through this book, one gets to know that he felt art and literature on a spiritual level. I feel a little connected to the author when he mentioned four of his favorite authors. Pablo Neruda, Marina Tsvetaeva, Osip Mandelstam, and Anna Akhmatova are the four literary icons the author mentioned. I love that he mentioned the first two as I too adore their works. The author’s narration confirms what a gifted writer he was. I enjoyed reading through as he talked about living in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

Jose De Koster narrated his story wonderfully. The authored adored his mother and treated her as the most special being. He equally loved his father and brother Ed, but the love he had for his mother was something else. I enjoyed reading on the bit where he discussed faith. It did not come to me as a surprise when the author wrote how he grew up as a Roman Catholic; his mother’s faith, not following his father who was Lutheran. Religion was an important aspect in their lives back then. I loved the memories he shared in regard to the Catholic faith he followed when young.

Fragments of A Journey… A Fistful of Life is a lovely memoir. The author’s recollection of his childhood complete with pictures attached is beautiful. The best thing about Jose’s life was the love they had in the family. His life was simple yet he was able to live to the fullest. His writing is matchless and admirable. The book is both short and interesting that one can complete in one sitting.

ISBN 13: 978-0-646-98150-5

 "Fragments of a Journey, A Fistful of Life" is a beautifully designed autobiography by Jose de Koster, a memoir which traces the events that have shaped the author's growth both as an artist and a man. It begins with his innocent and idyllic early years in the then Netherlands East Indies and now Indonesia - an innocence  brutally shattered by the war years, firstly, with the invasion and occupation of the Japanese army and then, his subsequent internment.  He survived the horrors of the camp only to be embroiled in the turmoil, on his release, of the Indonesian fight for independence.
  His story continues with repatriation to Holland thence migration to firstly, New Zealand and then to Australia where he finally settled in the beautiful Blue Mountains of New South Wales.
    Designed by Publishing Art Australia, the book is richly textured with photographs, images of his paintings and a scattering of the many poems he wrote.Like his paintings, the book in itself is a work of art.


About the Author

Jose de Koster
1929 - 2016

Born in Medan on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia in 1929, Jose de Koster, painter, poet, writer and all-round individual has lived a life which rivals one of his most loved characters, that of Zorba the Greek.
He spent his teenage years in a prisoner of war camp under the Japanese occupation. After the war, Jose recovered his strength sufficiently, after moving to Holland, to qualify as an Olympic standard swimmer.
He moved to New Zealand in his early twenties and, inspired by Gaugin, Picasso and van Gogh, began to paint. In 1966, he moved to Australia and eventually took up residence in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains.
     Jose's work was featured in The National Gallery of Victoria in Second landing - Dutch painters in the Southern Hemisphere". He has exhibited extensively in Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and various countries in Latin America where he was part of a touring exhibition in that continent.

Jose's autobiography, "Fragments of a Journey, A Fistful of Life" was published in February 2018.


The book is available for purchase using PayPal at $AU30. Please contact with your name and address when you make a payment.

Shipping fee - $5 throughout Australia

                         $7 to New Zealand

                         $15 to other countries


fragments of a Journey, A Fistful of Life

Jose de Koster