The New York Times places it in the 2016 top 10, The Economist calls it one of the best books of the year and now it has been nominated for the Man Booker International Prize 2017 longlist. The English-speaking world is lapping up Stefan Hertmans’ War and Turpentine.
Since its original publication in 2013, Oorlog en terpentijn has been deluged with positive responses, with sales receiving an extra boost from the commemoration of World War I in 2014. Hertmans’ Oorlog en terpentijn has won various prizes in Flanders and the Netherlands.
The novel was translated into English by David McKay and published in the UK in 2016 by Harvill Secker, later appearing in the US published by Knopf and Australia and New Zealand by Text. The promising review in The Guardian stated, “War and Turpentine has all the markings of a future classic”, and The New York Times compared Hertmans with the German author W. G. Sebald. Translator David McKay praised Hertmans’ style in De Standaard: “With Stefan Hertmans you hear a poet speaking.”
Meanwhile Harvill Secker is up to four or five print runs. The translation rights were recently sold for Hebrew, Arabic, Greek and Turkish, bringing the novel up to 21 translations.