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A Quattro Mani

Photographer Marc Brester and journalist Vivian de Gier can read and write with each other - literally. As partners in crime, they travel the world for various media, for reviews of the finest literature and personal interviews with the writers who matter. Ahead of the troops and beyond the delusion of the day.

Paolo Giordano ©Marc

Where to find solace and safety in a shaky world? Bestselling author Paolo Giordano searches for a Tasmania

What do you hold on to when not only the world is tottering, but also your own life? Where then can you find a safe place, a future? That is what Tasmania, Paolo Giordano's new book, is about. Crisis What came first: the worries about climate change and other world crises, or the crisis in his own life? The first-person narrator in Tasmania, a... 

'Someday I will allow myself to cry.' Roberto Saviano made a graphic novel about his devastated life after 'Gomorrah'

Since Roberto Saviano published his book Gomorrah and incurred the hatred of the Italian mafia, he has been living in hiding. What that is like, the graphic novel I'm still alive shows and feels razor-sharp. Roberto Saviano is 12 when he witnesses at first hand the murder of a man in his neighbourhood by the mafia. Fifteen years later,... 

Bestselling author Maria Dueñas wrote a sequel about spy Sira Quiroga: 'She had to suffer a little'

Her debut novel The Sound of the Night, in which simple seamstress Sira Quiroga became a spy for the British secret service, became a global bestseller a decade ago. Now Spanish writer María Dueñas (58) is out with a new novel in which she takes Sira to task. 'She did have to suffer a little.' Second part Because of the somewhat... 

'We will be surrounded by fiction.' Jeroen Olyslaegers on his new novella, the illusion of possession and modern escapism

They are quite the characters, the main characters in the books of Jeroen Olyslaegers (55). Laughingly, he talks about Wilfried Wils, the protagonist of his 2016 bestseller Wil, who never stopped talking to his creator. 'He kept commenting. I hadn't experienced a book staying alive like that before. When the book was awarded... 

'In the life I invent, the darkness disappears.' Writer Thomas Verbogt on his new novel 'Make it beautiful'

Make it beautiful is the title of his new novel, but actually it was a book Thomas Verbogt (69) had been carrying around inside for many years. Now that it has finally been written, he feels lighter. Good person How can you be of essential importance to another person? And what do you have to do to be a good person?.... 

Fernanda Melchor's new novel will leave you gasping for breath

Paradais - 'paradise' - is the cynical title of Fernanda Melchor's new, disconcerting novel. The world the Mexican writer conjures up is more like hell. Polo, a dark-skinned 16-year-old boy living with his mother in a small Mexican village, has rather fucked up his life so far. He has been kicked out of school, smokes and... 

'We will have to learn to live together better.' Writer Julia Navarro explores the why of terrorism in her new novel

Navarro's eighth novel From Nothingness revolves around Lebanese-Frenchman Abir Nasr, whose parents and sister are shot dead before his eyes by Israeli soldiers. Abir vows to take revenge one day. He and his little brother Ismail end up with strict religious family in Paris, who later move to the Molenbeek district of Brussels. While Abir's cousin Noura adopts the freer lifestyle of... 

One more time the stage is set for Anna. Sensitive new novel by Arthur Japin

A sensitive novel about being allowed to be yourself, that is Arthur Japin's new book What silence wants. He tells the tragic life story of Anna Witsen, whose career as a singer was broken in bud. Who remembers them, the nineteenth-century writers and artists who became known as the Tachtigers? Poets like Willem Kloos, Albert Verwey, Frederik van Eeden,... 

'My interest took on some obsessive traits.' Inge Schilperoord delved into the appeal of faith for her new novel

Seven years after her acclaimed debut novel Muidhond, Inge Schilperoord's new book is published. She delved into the experiences of a young Dutch girl attracted to the Islamic faith. When Inge Schilperoord (49) was a forensic psychologist in 2017, she spent time providing psychological examinations at the terrorist ward of a prison, where people suspected of having ties... 

Gianfranco Calligarich has his characters fight a blistering psychological contest

Gianfranco Calligarich's second novel translated into Dutch is as impressive as his well-received previous one. In the embrace of the river is a thrilling story that grips the main characters and the reader until the last page. Only two years ago, the first Dutch translation of one of the novels by... 

Harrowing novel about the hidden world of 'the Italian disease'

In his new novel When I Come Back, Italian writer Marco Balzano reveals a hidden world: that of female migrants hired by prosperous Westerners to care for their demented elderly, children and household. In Eastern Europe, there is a word for the burnout affecting millions of Eastern European domestic and care workers: 'the Italian disease'. Migration is often portrayed as... 

Aurora Venturini's nieces: confusing, alienating, eccentric and fascinating

Argentine writer Aurora Venturini was 85 when she received the Premio Nueva Novela for The Cousins, which she had submitted anonymously. She finally got the recognition she craved, with this eccentric, fascinating story with equally eccentric and fascinating characters. In The Cousins, Yuna tells of her monstrous family of 'misfits'. Yuna herself is retarded and her younger... 

Lightness was in the genes. Dieuwertje Blok discovered her Jewish mother's war diary

Fourteen years after the death of her Jewish mother, presenter Dieuwertje Blok found her war diary. With her debut Dragging Lightness, Blok pays a warm tribute to the woman who gave her life. A profession in the spotlight - Dieuwertje Blok is no stranger to it. Her grandmother Saartje, who as the daughter of fishmongers grew up in the Joden Houttuinen... 

With each novel, Jan Siebelink lays a new piece of the puzzle of his childhood

In Brengschuld, Jan Siebelink returns to his familiar Sievez family, adding a new chapter to the story of the downfall of their nursery. Ever since his biggest success novel Knielen op een bed violen, writer Jan Siebelink has regularly returned to his characters Hans and Margje Sievez, their son Ruben, and especially to their nursery in Velp. Also... 

'When I read all these observations about myself, I was in shock.' Ariëlla Kornmehl on her new novel 'The taxman'

For her new novel The Taxman, Ariëlla Kornmehl did not have to look far for her inspiration. From one day to the next, she herself became a protagonist in a story, as it turned out that her tax consultant harboured a silent obsession for her. "When I read all those observations about myself, I was in shock," she says. After the publication 

'I wanted to be like Jesus'.' 6 life insights from Ellen ten Damme

Her life has become what Ellen ten Damme (54) once dreamed of: free, exciting and she can make a living from her music. Like a troubadour, she is touring the country in the coming months with her new show Barock. 'Only in my French home do I do normal things.' 1. I can take myself seriously 'As a 3-year-old, I was already hanging from the highest lamppost. I... 

Zeruya Shalev wrote a beautiful novel about mourning: 'I felt the pain as if it happened to me'

With a fine, precise pen, Israeli Zeruya Shalev (63) writes about human relationships. Her new novel Lot is about what binds and drives loved ones apart, and about the different faces of grief. Sentences that want to be written For some writers, a book begins with an image, a pressing question or a character that presents itself. For Zeruya Shalev, a... 

Marina Jarre: a woman and writer who was always just out of step

Lack of roots and parental love marks a person for life, Marina Jarre shows in her autobiography Far Fathers. Well-deserved place in literature Why is Marina Jarre not considered one of the great writers of post-war Italy, except by some connoisseurs? That is what fellow writer Marta Barone wonders in the foreword to Jarre's autobiography.... 

Earth eater seeing the hard, naked truth

Dolores Reyes' darkly suspenseful debut novel Earth Food will bring readers to the edge of their seats. Those who sleep badly from suspenseful films might want to avoid reading Earth Food, the penetrating debut novel by Argentine Dolores Reyes, just before bedtime. Because it is a macabre story that gets under the skin. The narrator is a girl... 

Writer Mauro Corona: 'With my upbringing, I could have become a killer.'

A hard but also sensitive novel is Like a stone in the stream by Mauro Corona (72), and a reflection of himself. On a daily basis, the Italian writer and visual artist becomes more and more like the hedgehog in his book, which eventually drops all its spines. 'I try to bring out more of the softness that is hidden somewhere inside,... 

David Diop impresses with new novel about French colonial times

The Netherlands got to know French-Senegalese author David Diop a few years ago with his novel More than a Brother, an impressive tale of a piece of French-colonial history, which was awarded the European Literature Prize and the International Booker Prize, among others. His well-received new novel, Journey Without Return, or the Hidden Cahiers of Michel Adanson is another important book.... 

Always a new failure. Why internationally lauded writer László Krasznahorkai experiences all his work as a failure

Great international recognition notwithstanding, Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai himself considers every novel a failure. 'I strain my brain to the limit, but it never becomes the book it should be. So I start again. And again.' Hope for redemption lost Film adaptations of his novels and winning the prestigious Man Booker International... 

Scenes from a childhood. Hummingbird butterfly Dolores Prato gives you a special reading experience

A childhood in which nothing happens and which is as desolate as it is lonely. You would think that would hardly provide material for a book, but Dolores Prato (1892-1983) proved otherwise. Her autobiographical novel There in the Square is Nobody, roughly 800 pages thick, was published in a very much abridged version over 40 years ago. Prato, then already very elderly, was... 

How did that foot get there? A raw and cruel, but also moving story by Claudio Morandini

Snow, Dog, Foot is the great title of the first book translated into Dutch by Claudio Morandini, published by Koppernik, a publisher specialising in literary gems. The novel, which was already published in Italy in 2015 and received rave reviews, is set in the region where the author lives, the Valle d'Aosta. Main character Andelmo Farandola... 

'Weeping people desperately sought family photos'. Franco Faggiani wrote a novel about the earthquakes in Italy

Houses, monuments, shops and streets were wiped off the map. Nearly three hundred people died under the rubble. Franco Faggiani (73) wrote a gripping book about the earthquake that hit central Italy five years ago: Sometimes I'd like to be the wind. Success Whenever possible, Franco Faggiani treks into the northern Italian mountains. Once again, he finds himself in the Piedmontese... 

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