10-Books-Spring-2015

ernestvdkwast

10-Books-Spring-2015

3Jeroen BrouwersThe WoodBooks from HollandStylistic tour de force about a young teacher’s struggleto escape a brutal boarding school regimeJeroen Brouwers explores one of thedarkest chapters in our recent history:the sexual abuse of children within theCatholic Church. The latest novel bythis long-established literary figure haswon over critics and readers alike withits harrowing directness, attractingfive-star reviews and spending monthsin the top ten.Brouwers’ protagonist, mild-manneredEldert Haman, is neither abuser nor victim.A teacher at a Catholic boarding school, heis gradually absorbed into religious life andbecomes a monk there, taking the nameBonaventura. Disturbed by the militarydiscipline to which his young charges aresubjected, he treats them instead withcompassion. This brings him into conflictwith his fellow monks. He is demoted fromteaching to being night watchman with thetask of making sure that the boys do notsuccumb to the sins of the flesh.The novel is set in the early 1950s,shortly after World War II, when peoplewere struggling to build a life for themselvesand leave the uncertainties of thewar years behind. Mansuetus, a Germanmonk, arrives at the monastery to imposeorder and discipline.Bonaventura is not fully aware of theabuses being committed around himuntil the damage is done: he realises heis powerless to protect the boys from thewooden stick with which Mansuetus beatsthem. The German monk is the embodimentof evil and his young victims bearthe full brunt of his sadistic sexual urges.Trapped like the pupils he is failing toprotect, Bonaventura continues to playhis part in the grim facade of monastic life.He falls in love with a young widow,Patricia, who makes him question hisactions, plunging him into psychologicalturmoil. At last he learns to think forhimself again and take the boys’ side.Abandoning his monastic robes, he leavesthe school and the church, followed bythe boys he was unable to protect withinits walls.Brouwers describes this drama subtlyand precisely, keeping the narrative voiceclose to Bonaventura, thereby letting thereader share the monk’s inner struggle andturmoil without turning away from thisdisturbing world in revulsion. Ultimatelythe author offers salvation: escape fromhell is sometimes possible, if a man is ableto find love and stay true to himself.Jeroen Brouwers (b. 1940) grew up inIndonesia, worked as an editor at Manteaupublishers in Brussels and subsequentlysettled in the Netherlands. Brouwers’s workhas strong autobiographical elements, suchas in Groetjes uit Brussel (Greetings fromBrussels, 1969), Het verzonkene (TheSubmerged, 1979, awarded with the MultatuliPrize) and in Bezonken rood (Sunken Red,1981, the French translation was awarded thePrix Fémina Etranger in 1995). His novelGeheime kamers (Secret Rooms, 2000)became a resounding success: it met withunanimous praise and won the FlemishGolden Owl Award, the AKO Literature Prize2001 and the Multatuli Prize. His work hasbeen translated in fourteen languages.In 2007 the authors was awarded theprestigious Dutch Literature Prize (Prijs derNederlandse Letteren) for his entire oeuvre.Publishing detailsHet hout (2014)290 pp., 82,000 words30,000 copies soldPublisherAtlas Contactwww.atlascontact.nlRightsShared StoriesHayo Deinumhayo@sharedstories.nlwww.sharedstories.nlTranslated titlesBezonken rood: Translated intoFrench as Rouge décanté(Gallimard, 1995). Also intoEnglish (Peter Owen, 1990)and many other languagesGeheime kamers: Translated intoGerman as Geheime Zimmer(DVA, 2002). Datumloze dagen:Translated into French as Joursblancs (Gallimard, 2013).For other translated titles please seewww.vertalingendatabase.nlSample translation available‘Brouwers has produced anextraordinary novel. Atevery level it turns andclicks expertly into place.There is a miracle on everypage […] gems so flawlessit’s hard not to nod inappreciation when you docome across one.’— de Volkskrant‘Once again Brouwersdemonstrates his finesse[...] Het hout is a descentinto hell that haunts thereader for weeks. Let usgive thanks to the Lord forthis heathen masterpiece.’— De StandaardPhoto: Annaleen Louwes


4Bregje HofstedeThe Sky over ParisBooks from HollandAssured debut about a professor who falls forthe doppelganger of the woman he loved and lostAn original take on love and art, BregjeHofstede’s graceful and distinctive debutcombines an enthralling and originalromance with thought-provokinginsights from her background as an arthistorian.Olivier, a French professor of art history,has settled into comfortable middle age,enjoying a tranquil Parisian lifestyle withhis girlfriend Sylvie. He is woken from hisslumber by the appearance of 21-year-oldexchange student Fie, who bears anuncanny resemblance to Mathilde, theyoung woman he loved and lost 25 yearspreviously, having been reluctant tosupport her in pregnancy to the point ofurging her to have an abortion. Mathildehad vanished from his life and he hadregretted his decision ever since.Now Olivier becomes obsessed by Fie.The memories of happier days she rekindlesmake it increasingly impossible tosettle for the anodyne security of hiscurrent life with Sylvie. When Fie discoversshe is pregnant, history seems to berepeating itself. Once she has left herboyfriend and decided to keep the baby,Olivier takes on the role of her protector,even though it costs him his relationship,his career and his reputation. He leavesParis with Fie at his side: ‘The acceleratorburns beneath his foot and his happinesscolours the sky. Everything he was afraidof has finally come to pass.’The love story is interspersed with Fie’sstruggles to describe as lively as possiblethe artist’s search for the perfect work ofart. These reflections add depth to the lovestory. She describes how RobertRauschenberg once rubbed out a charcoaldrawing by Willem de Kooning to create anew artwork Erased De Kooning Drawingbecause he was battling against the currentof time, returning to the drawing’s beginnings,‘back to the moment when theartist’s idea was still unspoiled, the paperuntouched’.Similarly, Olivier is being given thechance to return to the moment whenhis idea of love was pure and unsullied,to make an almost existential choice infavour of romance and fatherhood. For thefirst time in his life, he dares to commit tosomeone. The Sky over Paris suggests thatit is better to throw caution to the windand make a start than to endlessly pursuethe ideal, whether in art or in love. It is arich theme, one that this mature novelfrom a young author both explores andembodies.Bregje Hofstede (b. 1988) lives in Brusselsand studied art history and French in Utrecht,Paris and Berlin. She works for a Europeanheritage organisation based in the Belgiancapital and lectures in art history at RadboudUniversity in Nijmegen. The Sky over Pariswas nominated for the Gouden Boekenuiland the Libris Literature Prize.Publishing detailsDe hemel boven Parijs (2014)223 pp., 56,728 words5,000 copies soldPublisherCosseeLaurens Molegraaf,laurens@cossee.comwww.cossee.comRights soldDenmark (Tiderne Skifter),Germany (C.H. Beck)‘The kind of debut writersdream of: well-structured,mature in tone and packedwith keen observations.’— De Telegraaf‘While Bregje Hofstedeexplores the paralysingpursuit of perfection, it isnot an affliction to whichshe succumbs. The Sky overParis is a dream debut.’— De Twentsche CourantTubantia‘What a joy when a writeris unafraid of beingstigmatised, sticks herneck out and delivers abook that can be read as anunabashed and intelligentromance.’— De GroeneAmsterdammerPhoto: Natalie Hill


5Gustaaf PeekGoddess, HeroBooks from HollandTwo lovers are consumed by a sexual passionunderscored by loneliness and lossWhat is the nature of sexual attraction,the essence of the chemistry that drawspeople together? And what is it that stopstwo people in love from sharing theirlives with each other? Gustaaf Peekexamines these matters in his eroticallycharged novel Goddess, Hero, an ingeniouslyconstructed tale of two lovers whofind and lose each other.In his previous novels, Gustaaf Peek drewinspiration from real-life events: the fateof German prisoners-of-war in a Texaninternment camp during World War II(I Was America, 2010) and the deaths of agroup of refugees smuggled into Britain ina freight container (Dover, 2008). In both,he demonstrated an uncanny ability toimmerse himself in the lives of people onthe outer reaches of human experience.Peek’s latest novel is dominated bya single theme: the mysterious force ofattraction. When teenagers Tessa (thegoddess) and Marius (the hero) meet atschool, they spark powerful desires inone another, desires that burn stronglythrough the years, even though they spendmost of their lives apart. When they meetit is in the anonymity of hotel rooms, atthe margin of their existence.While Marius dreams of marrying Tessaand having a child with her, he neverthelesschooses to remain on the periphery of herlife; emotional intimacy does not comeeasily to him. Tessa’s need for Marius isgreater than his need for her, triggeringa loneliness that never lets her go. Theworld of these two lovers is defined by theinterplay between rejection and attemptedreconciliation.The novel’s most striking feature is itsnarrative in reverse, counting back fromChapter 50 to Chapter 0. It opens withTessa’s funeral and returns to the momentof the lovers’ first teenage encounter. Thishighlights the inevitability of the eventsand sets their love story in the context oftheir demise. The theme of death is alsoexplored through the suicide of Tessa’sson and a tender scene in which Mariusobserves his father’s dying breath.Peek describes the couple’s sexualencounters with intensity and fierceintelligence. He paints an intimate anddisconcerting picture of how close you canget to someone else’s lips, to their eyes andyet still feel alone. The sex is sometimesanimalistic and cruel: ‘Her arms free andvictorious in the air, her pale armpits andunrestrained breasts, all her skin sovulnerable and close, the taste of her deepinside his mouth, on his tongue, it becametoo dark in him to think clearly. He assaultedher, tried to cover her with his body,relieved that she spoke as she fought him.’Gustaaf Peek (b. 1975) studied Englishlanguage and literature at Leiden University.His debut novel Armin appeared in 2006.His second novel, Dover, came out in early2008, inspired by the fatal drama of a groupof Chinese immigrants at the British port ofDover. In 2010, his third novel, Ik wasAmerika (I Was America) won him the BNGand F. Bordewijk Prizes. Godin, held(Goddess, Hero, 2014) received a rapturousreception and has been nominated for the2015 Libris Literature Prize.Publishing detailsGodin, held (2014)274 pp., 70,000 words30.000 copies soldPublisherQueridoPatricia de Groot,p.de.groot@querido.nlwww.querido.nlWorld English rights: Paul Sebes,Sebes & Van Gelderen LiteraryAgency, sebes@sebes.nlTranslated titleIk was Amerika. Translated intoCzech as Byli jsme Amerika(Barrister & Principal, 2012).Rights soldGermany (DVA).‘The novel’s compositiongives it a sweepingelegance. By telling thestory in reverse, Peek goesfrom inevitable declineback to the beginnings oflove, setting up the highestof expectations. The bookresembles a crumpleddrawing that is slowlyunfolded and smoothedout before your eyes.’— NRC Handelsblad‘Goddess, Hero is a boldundertaking: it is sexy andthoughtful, and utterlyrefuses to hold back inany way whatsoever. Withhis robust, sensual styleand the guts to deliverstorylines that are raggedaround the edges, Peeksucceeds in writing a novelthat is both arousing andmoving.’— De Groene AmsterdammerPhoto: Maaike Hermes


6Kees ’t HartTeatro OlimpicoBooks from HollandA hapless duo look on as their theatrical triumphdescends into a cruel comedy of errors‘Teatro Olimpico was a dream, a dreamthat had to come true. I hope you understand.’Here the dramatist at the centre ofKees ’t Hart’s tenth novel shares his taleof woe with a potential backer. His dreamof staging a ground-breaking productionat Italy’s most celebrated theatre lies intatters.Kees and Hein are two cutting-edgetheatre-makers from The Hague. Afterthe première of their ‘anti-Beckettian’play about the 18th-century philosopherRousseau, they are invited to bring it tothe Palladian theatre in Vicenza. Withoutstopping to consider the practicalities, thepartners plunge headlong into a foreignadventure and soon find themselvesgasping for air.First there’s the language barrier tocontend with: Kees and Hein hardly speaka word of Italian. Then there’s the logisticalheadache of transferring their elaboratemise-en-scène to a 16th-centurytheatre. Next up, finances: the funds thatwere promised either evaporate or findtheir way into the wrong bank account.Last but not least there are the artistichazards: Kees and Hein soon start tosuspect that their Italian director isclinging to an alarmingly different setof dramaturgical dogmas. Who is thisdirector anyway? Where is the moneycoming from? And who exactly is runningthe show at the Teatro Olimpico?At times Teatro Olimpico conjures upassociations with Kafka’s The Castle,except that Kees and Hein’s haplessattempts to grapple with Italian cultureand officialdom are much funnier. Everytime they take a step forward, the cast ofcharacters intent on undermining theirdream is extended. Everyone interfereswith everything and everything that cango wrong does go wrong. As the artisticreincarnation of Laurel & Hardy, the duo– naïve and arrogant in equal parts – stumbleon towards their opening night, edgingever closer to bankruptcy. But as Keeswrites in his report to his financial backer:‘There was nothing to be done. It would beall right on the night. Vedremo! Nessunproblema!’Writer and critic Kees ’t Hart (b. 1944) madehis breakthrough in 1999 with De revue (TheVariety Show), the moving tale of a washedoutclerk who revisits the happiest days ofhis life as part of an Amsterdam variety show.The novel set the tone for a postmodernistauthor who thrives on seemingly autobiographicalworks that blend reality andfantasy. ’t Hart once described his charactersas ‘rampaging adolescents’ who identifywith such disparate figures as Elvis in Landvan genade (Land of Mercy, 1989), Pinocchioin De neus van Pinokkio (Pinocchio’s Nose,1990) and Hitchcock (Hotel Vertigo, 2012).Publishing detailsTeatro Olimpico (2014)220 pp. 75,000 words5,000 copies soldPublisherQueridoPatricia de Groot,p.de.groot@querido.nlwww.querido.nlTranslated titleBlauw Curaçao. Translated intoGerman as Blaues Curaçao(Klett-Cotta, 1998).‘The wittiest novel of theyear […] Yet this is so muchmore than Laurel & Hardy:Teatro Olimpico is alsoa satire on the collectiveautism of the modern-daytheatrical fraternity.’— NRC Handelsblad‘As the novel unfolds,the more Hein and Kees’world starts to resemble aBeckett play. […] A complexnetwork of other textsunderlies this singlework. ’t Hart, literate andsupremely at ease, knowsexactly where he’s takingus.’— de VolkskrantPhoto: Euf Lindeboom


8Books from HollandSuccessful TitlesMaking a Splash on the International Literary MarketPrizewinning novel about alienationand migrationA rediscovered classic about the growing painsof a Jewish girl between the world warsTommy WieringaThese Are the Names(Dit zijn de namen, 2012)200,000 copies soldIda SimonsA Foolish Virgin(Een dwaze maagd, 1959)25,000 copies soldRights: Marijke Nagtegaal,m.nagtegaal@debezigebij.nl,Uta Matten, u.matten@debezigebij.nlRights sold: Argentina (Edhasa),Australia (Scribe), France (ActesSud), Germany (Hanser), Hungary(Libri), Italy (Iperborea)‘Within pages it becomes clearthat this is a rare novel possessedwith a sense of place and a purpose.In ways a parable about displacement,encompassing the emotional,the spiritual and the psychological,it has cohesion and urgency,balancing the ordinary with theextreme horrors of a news bulletin.’– Irish Times‘The design is structurallysound and highly intelligent.Wieringa will make youthink and keep you readingeagerly to the final page.’– Times Literary SupplementRights: laurens@cossee.comRights sold: Armenia (Antares),Brazil (Objetiva), Catalonia(Empúries), Czech Republic(Pistorius & Olsanska), Denmark(Klim), Germany (Luchterhand),France (Belfond), Iceland(Bjartur), Israel (Yedioth Books),Italy (Rizzoli), Norway (Pax),Rumania (Polirom), Spain(Alfaguara), UK (MacLehosePress), Sweden (Natur ochKultur)‘Ida Simons speaks with an assured and individualvoice in this sensitive yet unsentimental work. It isincomprehensible that this book hasn’t been readfor many years.’– NRC HandelsbladLegendary love story of a doomedrelationship between an artist anda daughter of the bourgeoisieFerocious contemporary satire abouta vengeful doctor who drives an actorfriend to his deathJan WolkersTurkish Delight(Turks fruit, 1969)600,000 copies soldHerman KochSummerhouse with Swimming Pool(Zomerhuis met zwembad, 2011)350,000 copies soldRights: Marleen Seegers,marleen.seegers@2seasagency.comRights sold: Argentina (Libros delZorzal), Bulgaria (Literaturen Forum),Croatia (AGM), Germany (Alexander),Finland (Otava), France (Belfond),Greece (Potamos), Italy(Scritturapura), Japan (KadokawaShoten), Lithuania (Alma Littera),Poland (Iskry), Portugal (CasaPortuguesa), Slovenia (ZalozbaObzorja), Slovakia (Slovart), SouthKorea (Hyandae Minhak), Sweden(Forum), Turkey (Versus), UK (Calderand Boyars), US (Tin House Books)‘Like Henry Miller, Wolkers writes with a tremendousappetite for life and a painterly approach to the sensuous.’– New York Times Book ReviewRights: Christel Meijer,christel@sharedstories.nlRights sold: Australia (Text), Brazil(Intrinseca), Bulgaria (Colibri), Catalonia(Ara Libres), China (Shanghai 99), CzechRepublic (Barrister & Principal), Finland(Siltala), France (Belfond), Germany (Kiwi),Greece (Metaixmio), Hungary (Európa),Iceland (JPV Publishers), Israel (Keter),Italy (Neri Pozza), Norway (Pax), Poland(Media Rodzina), Portugal (Objetiva),Russia (Azbooka-Atticus), South Africa(Protea Boekhuis), South Korea (EunhaengNamu Publishing Co), Spain (Salamandra),Turkey (Dogan Kitap), UK (Atlantic Books),US (Hogarth Crown)‘Caustic. Poisonous. I couldn’t stopreading. Ghoulishly fascinating.’– Washington Post‘A compelling familydrama. The narrator’svoice is full of wit andfury and angry feelings– it’s a thriller withliterary quality, raisingmoral questions.’– FrankfurterAllgemeine Zeitung


9Books from HollandThe Book of Genesis retold from theperspective of the underdogsGraphic novel about the life of the oldmaster from the Golden AgeGuus KuijerThe Bible for Unbelievers(De bijbel voor ongelovigen,2012)30,000 copies soldRights: Patricia de Groot,p.de.groot@querido.nlRights sold: Germany (Kunstmann),US (Seven Stories Press)‘A completely original literaryundertaking which knows no equal.’– De Groene Amsterdammer‘Kuijer’s retelling is merciless.’– NRC HandelsbladA classic psychological novel about threefriends in love with the same womanTypexRembrandt(Rembrandt, 2013)Mentioned as one of the bestgraphic novels of 2014 byThe Guardian and Creative BloqRights: Marijke Nagtegaal,m.nagtegaal@debezige.bij,Uta Matten,u.matten@debezigebij.nlRights sold: China (Buclas),France (Casterman), Hungary(Libri), South Korea (GreenKnowledge), Spain (Norma),UK (SelfMadeHero)‘The drawings are fantastic: they teem with life (and, sometimes,with rats). Typex, It feels outrageous to write it butI think Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn would have adoredthis book. He would have admired its draughtsmanship andits wit and – given how many times he painted himself – hewould have loved the fact that he is its star, warts and all.’– The GuardianStephan EnterGrip(Grip, 2011)50,000 copies soldRights: Menno Hartman,menno@vanoorschot.nl,Laura Susijn,laura@thesusijnagency.comRights sold: France (Actes Sud),Germany (Bloomsbury Berlin),Hungary (Gondolat), Italy(Iperborea), Norway (Font Forlag)‘This novel is a gem.’– Focus‘Transcends the boundaries betweenthe physical and interior landscape:a remarkable book with images ofgreat evocative power.’– Il ManifestoSuccessful debut about a Turkishfamily drama in the 1960sMurat IsikLost Ground(Verloren grond, 2012)20,000 copies soldRights: Willem Bisseling,bisseling@sebes.nlRights sold: Germany (Arche),Sweden (Fakta 2244), Turkey(Koton Kitap)‘When we really tell our ownstory we also tell everyman’sstory. That is why Isik’s storysounds so familiar’.– Ece TemelkuranTop 10TranslatedDutch FictionSource:Vertalingendatabase.nl1Max Havelaar (Max Havelaar),Multatuli (1860)2 Het diner (The Dinner), Herman Koch (2009)3 Rituelen (Rituals), Cees Nooteboom (1980)4 De aanslag (The Assault), Harry Mulisch (1982)5 Het volgende verhaal (The Following Story), Cees Nooteboom (1991)6 De passievrucht (A Father’s Affair), Karel Glastra van Loon (1999)7 Komt een vrouw bij de dokter (Love Life), Kluun (2003)8 Het huis van de moskee (The House of the Mosque), Kader Abdolah (2005)9 De tweeling (The Twins), Tessa de Loo (1993)10 Boven is het stil (The Twin), Gerbrand Bakker (2006)


10Jeroen ThijssenSolitudeBooks from HollandIntriguing family novel set against the backgroundof Dutch colonial historyFrank and Robert Bramme live in a squat.The brothers grew up at their grandfather’shouse after their parents diedyoung. The grandfather has dementiaand has been admitted to a nursing home.Managing his affairs and having no moneythemselves, the brothers find themselvesforced to give up the old house. Whileclearing it out they discover a collectionof cardboard boxes in the attic. This is thestarting point of a suspenseful story thattakes the reader back to Indonesia in the19th century, where the brothers’ ancestorsran a family plantation. With this richand atmospheric novel, Jeroen Thijssenfollows in the footsteps of Multatuli andHella S. Haasse.The books, seaman’s books, letters anddiaries from the boxes become the rawmaterial for a book Frank writes aboutthe history of his family and a plantationcalled Solitude in the Dutch East Indies,now Indonesia. His story starts with thebrothers Hendrik and Theo. They servedin the East Indies Army and took part inthe Lombok Expedition of 1894. Havingsurvived the bloody battle at TjakraNegara where the army was lured intoa trap and forced to retreat, they wereamong the same troops when the strongholdwas recaptured six months late.Entering the Raja’s place, Hendrik andTheo happen upon a wealth of preciousstones and steal them.With capital from the stones, Theobuys the daily paper The Typhoon, andHendrik a plantation called Solitude, farfrom Batavia. Both Theo and Hendrikhave sons, who more or less follow intheir father’s footsteps. Theo’s son shareshis father’s liking for drink and brothels,while Hendrik’s son Simon takes overthe running of the plantation after hisfather contracts a muscle-wasting disease.During the Japanese occupation and theIndonesian War of Independence thatfollows, Simon in particular runs intodifficulties. He’s a proud plantationowner but also feels a strong connectionwith local villagers and with Barep,who turns out to be his half-brother.Thijssen describes the present life ofthe brothers in their squat and that of theirforebears in the Indies with an equal feelfor atmosphere and detail. He cleverlyinterweaves colonial relationships, and ina sense their indictment, with the fate of hischaracters, postponing with masterly controlthe revelation of dark family secrets.A wonderful page-turner to the very end.Publishing detailsSolitude (2014)464 pp, 150,000 words6,000 copies soldPublisherNieuw AmsterdamJanneke Louman,jlouman@nieuwamsterdam.nlwww.nieuwamsterdam.nlRightsMarleen Seegers2Seas Agencymarleen.seegers@2seasagency.comSample translation available‘With this story Thijssengains a place for himselfin the literary traditionthat comes to terms withDutch colonial history,along with Hella Haasse,Couperus, Multatuli and,especially, E. du Perron’sCountry of Origin (1935) inwhich engagement is seenfrom various perspectives.’— de Volkskrant‘Thijssen’s knowledge ofhistory is astonishing.[...] His ability to tella gripping story thatcontinually takes newtwists and turns makesthe book irresistibleand his evocation ofcharacters draws us in.’— NRC HandelsbladJeroen Thijssen (b. 1959) is the author ofA Trip Around Gaul (2010) and the shortstorycollections The Marshall and OtherStories (1998) and The Children of theTriple A (2009). After Brother (2007),Solitude (2014) is his second novel. Taste,a book about food and flavour, will bepublished in the spring.‘Solitude overflows withsuggestive and cleverlyconcealed familymysteries.’— TrouwPhoto: Keke Keukelaar


11Adriaan van DisI Will ReturnBooks from HollandA mother confides her deepest secrets to her sonin exchange for a peaceful deathAdriaan van Dis has explored his familyhistory before but never so unflinchinglyas in this memoir. In the final phase of hismother’s life she is at last prepared to talkabout living through three wars and thedeath of her first husband, beheaded in aJapanese internment camp. Adriaan vanDis pieces together her past and his ownin a brave and uncompromising book.The author’s relationship with his motherwas always troubled. Critical rather thantender, she refused to open herself up toothers and never talked about the past. Itwas unclear whether this was simply hernature or the fallout from her wartimeordeals and her difficult marriage.The mother in I Will Return clings to hersecrets and threatens to take them to thegrave with her, while the author is intent ongetting at the truth. The two enter into analmost Faustian pact: he will be allowed totake on the role of journalist and pry intoher past if he promises to help her end herlife. With her 100th birthday approaching,she feels she has nothing left to live for,though plenty still remains unsaid.The first part of the memoir takes placeafter the author’s two sisters have died. Hismother, now in a rest home, comes across asdistant and heartless, even refusing to talkabout her two dead daughters, and dwellingon her own suffering: fleeting impressionsof hard times, long years of loneliness andcondemnation of her mixed marriage.The mother is shrewd, controlling andmanipulative with her son in the way shegives and withholds information. Van Diswrites beautifully on the subject of rememberingand forgetting, words that ring withinsight and emotion even when they comefrom his reluctant mother’s lips. ‘That’s oldage,’ she said. ‘Your character doesn’t wearaway as you get older, it condenses, theessence rises to the surface. We are allreduced to the stock cube of our own soup.’I Will Return is an exceptionally courageousbook about mothers and sons, aboutwar and coming to terms with life and withdeath. While the narrator sees death as theend, it is the mother’s firm belief in reincarnationthat gives the book its title. In adreamlike closing sequence, the deceasedmother does indeed return.Adriaan van Dis (b. 1946) was raised in theDutch town of Bergen along with his halfsisters,the children of parents with anIndonesian background, traumatised by war.He debuted in 1983 with the novella NathanSid. After making a name for himself as a travelwriter with books such as Het beloofde land(The Promised Land) and In Afrika (In Africa),he sealed his reputation with the award-winningbestseller Indische duinen (My Father’sWar, 1994), a novel about the Dutch-born sonof an Indonesian family who grows up in anatmosphere of repressed suffering. His laternovels such as Familieziek (Family Fray,2004), De wandelaar (The Walker, 2007) andTikkop (Betrayal, 2010) have all sold well andreceived glowing reviews. His work has beentranslated into many languages.Publishing detailsIk kom terug (2014)288 pp., 63,000 words90,000 copies soldPublisherAtlas Contactwww.atlascontact.nlRightsShared StoriesHayo Deinum,hayo@sharedstories.nlwww.sharedstories.nlTranslated titlesPlease seewww.vertalingendatabase.nl.Sample translation available‘Fascinating stories,memories, glimpses,images that make a deepimpression on the reader.This uncomfortableportrait, wrestled from hispast, his mother and mostof all from himself, showsAdriaan van Dis at hisliterary best.’— Vrij Nederland‘He presents his strugglewith maternal lovemagnificently: he has toforce himself to do right byher, to walk in her shoes.After all, as a grown manshouldn’t he be capable ofa normal, reasonable, adultrelationship with her? It ishonest. And gripping tillthe very last page.’— NRC Handelsblad‘Entertaining, painful andgruesome by turns, andoften incredibly moving.’— HP/De TijdPhoto: Annaleen Louwes


12Jan ArendsKeefmanBooks from HollandA classic, harshly critical and impassioned protestagainst the psychiatric establishmentJan Arends was a gifted poet and writerof short stories but also an alcoholic anda sociopath who spent much of his shortlife in psychiatric care. These aspects ofhis complex personality come togetherbrilliantly in Keefman, a collection ofshort stories published in the heyday ofthe anti-psychiatry movement. It hassince become a literary classic.The book consists of two extendednarratives and eleven shorter pieces,almost all focusing on characters whowalk the thin line between madnessand normality. The elderly man in ‘TheSuicide’ pretends to hang himself so thathe can be admitted to an asylum to escapehis domineering wife. In ‘The NewspaperEater’ the protagonist subjects himself tohumiliation at the hands of a couple heregards as his friends. Mr Koopman in‘The Breakfast’ tries to flee the squalor ofa psychiatric clinic by climbing up a tree.The two longer stories are also the mostpowerful. ‘Bedsit Bachelor’ is an officeclerk’s disturbing account of a descent intopoverty and degradation when in the gripof depression. The title story ‘Keefman’takes the form of six monologues in whicha patient rails against his doctor. Keefmanis angered by society’s intolerance ofmental illness and regards psychiatristsas the extension of an uncaring regime.He accuses doctors of refusing to listeneven though ‘people with a psychiatricdisorder have an even greater need to beunderstood than others’. Instead, thosein genuine need of treatment are lockedup along with the dregs of society andstrapped into straitjackets to keep themunder control.Keefman’s angry tone of voice is clearlyunbalanced yet there is no denying thetruth in his embittered attack on thesystem. Almost fifty years on, conditionsin most psychiatric institutions havechanged considerably but Arends’ literaryplea to treat the patient as a human beingremains as topical and relevant as ever.Publishing detailsKeefman (1972)166 pp., 60,000 wordsRightsLebowskiOscar van Gelderenoscar.vangelderen@lebowksipublishers.nlDe Bezige BijMarijke Nagtegaal,m.nagtegaal@debezigebij.nlUta Mattenu.matten@debezigebij.nlJan Arends (1925-74) was raised in aCatholic care home and went on to lead aturbulent life, stumbling from one short-livedjob to the next. All the while he wrote poemsand stories that focused on his battles withofficialdom and the medical establishment.He committed suicide in 1974, days beforethe publication of his final collection ofpoems Lunchpauze gedichten (Lunch-breakPoems). He soon became a cult figurewhose work has since been rediscoveredby generation after generation. Keefmanhas achieved classic status and is now inits eleventh edition.‘Books such as Keefmanare few and far between.In my view the NobelPrize would not be toogreat an honour for anentire oeuvre as good asthe title story or a storysuch as ‘Bedsit Bachelor’.’— Rudy Kousbroek‘This is prose that inflictspain. It moves you and,most important of all, itstays with you. […] Keefmanshould be compulsoryreading for every aspiringpsychiatrist.’— Thomas Heerma vanVoss in De CorrespondentPhoto: Eddy de Jongh


13Books from HollandAimée de JonghThe Return of the Honey-BuzzardPsychological thriller in graphic form from theNetherlands’ youngest and most promising talentThe Return of the Honey-Buzzard isa visual masterpiece of magic-realisttension. Its apparently sketchy yetprecise style, its subject matter andits filmic narrative are reminiscentof Craig Thompson’s Blankets andHayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.Simon Antonisse, and his wife Laura,had reluctantly taken on his parents’bookshop. Now that it is threatened withclosure because of the financial crisis, hebecomes increasingly self-absorbed. Thisis made worse by his witnessing a suicidein the woods on his way one day to thebuilding where his books are stored.Unable to open up and share his experienceswith others, he spends more andmore time in the storeroom where hewithdraws in his mind to his schooldaysand his friend Ralph, who died whiletrying to take revenge on the bullieswho were making his life a misery.This repressed trauma of childhoodgradually turns Simon’s life into a nightmare.Then he meets the mysteriousRegina, with whom he feels a closebond. She alone seems able to bring himcomfort and peace. But who is Regina?Aimée de Jongh’s decision to draw intaut black-and-white with a powerfulnarrative rhythm, places the focus entirelyon Simon’s inner world. She brilliantlyweaves together the financial crisis,bullying, friendship and coping withtrauma and shows true mastery of thegraphic narrative.Publishing detailsDe terugkeer van de wespendief(2014)160 pp, 3,744 wordsb/w illustrationsRightsDe Bezige BijMarijke Nagtegaal,m.nagtegaal@debezigebij.nlUta Matten,u.matten@debezigebij.nlRights soldBelgium (Dargaud)‘An extremely maturedebut. Makes you wish thatfar more graphic novels ofthis standard would appearin the Netherlands.’— NRC Handelsblad‘A promise comes tofulfilment.’— De StandaardAimée de Jongh (b. 1988) is aprize-winning animator, cartoonstripartist and illustrator, who isinfluenced by European graphicnovels, manga and Japaneseanimated films and commandsa wide range of styles andtechniques. She has created adaily cartoon strip for the newspaperMetro and a music videofor Wende Snijders. Her animatedfilm Aurora was shown inseventy-one Dutch cinemas. Herwork has been exhibited in TheWhitney Museum of AmericanArt in New York and the Kulturmuseumin Oslo, among others.‘The realistic blackand-whitedrawingsThe Return of the Honey-Buzzardare reminiscent ofis her first graphic novel.Craig Thompson andthoroughly convincing.’— De Groene Amsterdammer Photo: Alain Lemmens


14Anita TerpstraDifferentBooks from HollandA masterly psychological thriller about the returnof a missing childRising thriller-writer Anita Terpstradraws here on a true story about a Dutchboy who walked into a Berlin policestation a few years ago claiming that hisfather had held him captive in a forest foryears. This later proved to be untrue.Different opens at a cracking pace withAlma Meester desperately searchingwoodland for her son Sander who, withhis best friend Maarten, has gone missingduring an orienteering game. Alma’shusband Linc and Sander’s older sisterIris, who were in charge of the game, losttrack of them. When Maarten is founddead a few hours later, it’s clear that theboys did not simply lose their way.After this dark opening, Terpstraswitches to the present, and six years latera boy is digging a pit in a wood intendedfor Eelco, a fifty-year-old man with whomhe’s been living in isolation for severalyears. In the next chapter he calmly walksout of the forest to report to a Germanpolice station, claiming to be Sander.Where many thrillers end – with thediscovery of the missing person – Differentis only just getting started. Sander’s sisterIris notices immediately that Sander haschanged. ‘How do we know this is Sander?’she asks, even though both the missingchild and the boy have a finger that’s onebone short. But the question has beenasked and doubt is sown. What reallyhappened, that night in the woods? Is theboy truly Sander? With her brilliantlyconstructed story, Terpstra has painteda compassionate picture of the absolutebut lacerating love of a mother for her son.Publishing detailsAnders (2014)302 pp, 83,000 wordsRightsCargoMarijke Nagtegaal,m.nagtegaal@debezigebij.nlUta Matten,u.matten@debezigebij.nlwww.uitgeverijcargo.nlRights soldGermany (Blanvalet / RandomHouse), France (Denoël)‘A thriller as it should be:a story that makes youforget your surroundings.Just like in the work of herScandinavian colleagues,the world depicted inAnders is tough anddark, sometimes evengruesome.’– Leeuwarder CourantAnita Terpstra (b. 1974) studied journalismand art history. In 2009 she made her debutas a crime author with Night Flight, whichwas nominated for the Shadow Prize and theannual prize of the Crimezone website. AfterOverpowered (2011) and Beloved (2011),her well-received Different was publishedin 2014.‘Anita Terpstra is one ofthe top thriller authorsin the Netherlands.’— Crimezone‘Clever how Terpstramanages to build up thetension and the plot.’— HDC MediaPhoto: Billie Glaser


15Recent TranslationsBooks from HollandThis is a selection of recently publishedtranslations from the Dutch. For more informationplease go to our online database of translationswww.vertalingendatabase.nl.Louis CouperusThe Hidden ForceLieneke DijkzeulWhat RemainsGuido van DrielGuestsAnna EnquistCounterpoint[Tajnaja sita]Translated into Russian by IrinaMichajlova for Helicon Plus,2014.In der Stille der TodTranslated into German byChristiane Burkhardt for DTV,2015.Les visiteursTranslated into French by DanielCunin for L’Agrume, 2014.[Kontrapoenkt]Translated into Hebrew byRan HaCohen for HakibbutzHameuchad, 2015.Stephan EnterGripAnne-Gine GoemansGliding FlightSaskia GoldschmidtThe Hormone FactoryMurat IsikLost GroundLa presaTranslated into Italian by GiorgioTesta for Iperborea, 2014.Translated into English by NancyForest-Flier for World Editions,2015.Die hormoonfabriekTranslated into Afrikaans byDaniel Hugo for ProteaBoekhuis, 2015.Jorden vi misteTranslated into Swedish by PerHolmer for 2244 Publishers,2014.NescioAmsterdam StoriesJan Jacob SlauerhoffThe Forbidden KingdomWytske VersteegBoyJ.J. VoskuilThe OfficeStorie di AmsterdamTranslated into Italian by FulvioFerrari for Iperborea, 2015.Translated into Arabic byMostafa Mahmood Mohamadfor Afaq Books, 2015.Translated into Turkish by ErhanGürer for Kahve Yayinlari, 2014.Das Büro 2- Schmutzige HändeTranslated into German by GerdBusse for Verbrecher Verlag, 2014.


Books from HollandJeroen BrouwersThe WoodBregje HofstedeThe Sky over ParisGustaaf PeekGoddess, HeroKees ’t HartTeatro OlimpicoErnest van der KwastThe Ice Cream MakersJeroen ThijssenSolitudeAdriaan van DisI Will ReturnJan ArendsKeefmanAimée de JonghThe Return of the Honey-BuzzardAnita TerpstraDifferentN ederlandsletterenfondsdutch foundationfor literaturePostbus /PO Box 165881001 RB Amsterdamt +31 (0)20 520 73 00f +31 (0)20 520 73 99post@letterenfonds.nlwww.letterenfonds.nlvisiting addressNieuwe Prinsengracht 891018 VR AmsterdamBooks from Hollandis distributed to internationaleditors and publishers. Pleasecontact us if you would like to beincluded on our mailing list.EditorsDick Broer, Barbara den Ouden,Tiziano Perez, Victor Schiferli,Pieter SteinzContributionsDick Broer, Reintje Gianotten,Marlies Hoff, Mara Joustra,Barbara den Ouden,Victor Schiferli, Pieter SteinzTranslationDavid Doherty, Liz WatersCover ImageVictor Schiferliwww.flickr.com/victorschiferliPrintingPlatform PDesignKummer & Herrman, Utrecht

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