As always, there is a plethora of excellent books for Dutch readers to bury their nose in this year, including the latest publications from literary icons such as Herman Koch, Connie Palmen and Tommy Wieringa. To prepare literary aficionados for 2017, Culture Trip has put together the following list of outstanding, intriguing and groundbreaking contemporary Dutch language books.
De Dood van Murat Idrissi by Tommy Wieringa
This powerful novel is actually based on real-life events and draws on several distressing legal cases. The book opens with the death of a young Moroccan man, who had planned to illegally enter the Netherlands by stowing away inside a car boot. Having agreed to smuggle him, the drivers of this car are forced to face the consequences of their actions.
De Zonde van de Vrouw by Connie Palmen
Early this year Libris Prize winner Connie Palmen returned with another insightful meditation on the nature of femininity, originality and personal autonomy. Palmen introduces these key themes by discussing the lives of several influential women including Maryln Monroe and Maguerete Duras. Each of these figures, Palmen argues, surpassed the limits of their time by challenging the status quo, in a manner that recalls the Bible’s account of original sin.
Verboden Vruchten by Katja Schuurman
For her first foray into literature, Dutch celebrity Katja Schuurman’s compiled an unique selection of erotic tales and poetry. Collected under the title Verboten Vruchten (Forbidden Fruits) this anthology contains a wide variety of literature from several esteemed international writers, such as Charles Bukowski, James Sulter and Remco Campert.
De Greppel by Herman Koch
Herman Koch’s latest tale of intrigue follows Robert Walker, a seemingly upstanding statesmen whose life suddenly begins to spiral out of control. This desperate character refuses to trust anyone and must learn to survive under increasingly threatening circumstances. Like all of Koch’s work, de Greppel is laced with subtle hints of dark humour and frequently steps into satirical territory.
Pogingen Iets van het Leven te Maken by Hendrik Groen
Hendrik Groen’ charming memoirs have already won over thousands of fans in the Netherlands and were recently translated into English. As an elderly Dutch gentlemen, living in a retirement home in northern Amsterdam, Groen spends his days musing over life’s idiosyncrasies and eventually decides to set out on a new personal adventure.
De Amerikaanse Prinses by Annejet van der Zijl
In the midst of two World Wars, the decline of European aristocracy and surging industrialisation, an American socialite called Allene Tew rose up through the ranks of New York’s social elite and became an influential figure within cross-continental politics. In this book, Annette van der Zijl reconstructs Tew’s fascinating life and relationship with the Dutch royal family.