10 Hidden Gems from Dutch Literature

10 Hidden Gems from Dutch Literature

The Dutch Foundation for Literature published a new edition of 10 Books from Holland. The foundation visited the London Book Fair with the spring edition of the brochure and presented ten titles from the Netherlands to foreign publishers.

One of those titles is already published: the highly acclaimed The Evenings by Gerard Reve. In order to promote Dutch literature abroad, the Dutch foundation gives a subsidy to new translations of the books presented in the brochure: a maximum subsidy of 100% for classics and 70% for contemporary prose.

The 10 books from Holland are:

Herman Koch – The Ditch (De Greppel, 2016)
“Koch keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the very end, conjuring up a dramatic twist that few will see coming. […] In short, another intense and highly entertaining novel from the Netherlands’ most successful author”.

Read more about Koch in this article from The Low Countries Yearbook, entitled 'Misanthropes, Boring Assholes and Amoral Winners'.

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer – Peachez. A Romance (Peachez, een romance, 2017)

Peachez. A Romance is not just a tantalizing and tense thriller but a small philosophical novel about faith and love.”

David Pefko – There Come the Flies (Daar komen de vliegen, 2017)
“The book is gripping precisely because of the sympathy the reader feels for the person behind the white-collar criminal. Reading There Come the Flies is a nerve-wracking and exhilarating experience.”

Eva Meijer – The Bird Cottage (Het vogelhuis, 2016)
“A novel free of noise and interference, so that the twittering and fluttering of birds is rendered crystal clear and almost audible.”

Christine Otten – We Had Love, We Had Weapons (We hadden liefde, we hadden wapens, 2016)
“With subtle psychological portraits of her characters and her topical theme, Otten has written an important, moving novel.”

Hanna Bervoets – Ivanov (Ivanov, 2016)
“A novel that explores ethical issues, but also raises questions as to what it means to be human and who sets the standards.”

Gerard Reve – The Evenings (De Avonden. Een winterverhaal, 1947)

“Seventy years after its original release, The Evenings has experienced a major resurgence, thanks to Sam Garrett’s excellent English translation. Reve himself is not around to enjoy the acclaim, but he would probably have echoed the words of his protagonist, expressed in the legendary closing sentence of The Evenings: ‘It has been seen, it has not gone unnoticed’.”

Dola de Jong – The Tree and the Vine (De thuiswacht, 1954)

The Tree and the Vine laconically describes a love doomed to fail, not only because of the taboo on lesbian love and the threat of the Holocaust but because of the huge difference between the lovers. Dola de Jong is a master at dissecting complex relationships, making this classic still feel topical today.”

Aart Taminiau – Wool (Wol, 2016)

“Aart Taminiau does not make it easy for his readers. Wool presents a world that is on the brink of extinction. The protagonists are weary of life and they are no longer able to make any money. But just look at how ingeniously the artist depicts their situation!”

Frederik Baas – Diary From the River (Dagboek uit de rivier, 2017)

“Every thriller needs an engine that will get the plot going and maintain the tension. In his debut thriller Diary From the River, Frederik Baas comes up with a marvellous device: a diary fished out of a river.”

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