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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.

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... 

'Please tell me what happened, because I can't grasp it.' Nicola Lagioia wrote a penetrating book about a brutal murder in Rome.

Five years ago, Rome was rocked by a brutal, bloody murder. Under the influence of cocaine and alcohol, two near-thirties murdered for no reason a young man they did not know. Writer and journalist Nicola Lagioia, like many other compatriots, was gripped by the case. 'This is not just a story about a murder, but above all about loneliness.' Manuel Foffo and... 

'Birds just passed me by for three quarters of my life' Learn to bird with writer Nicolien Mizee

She could barely tell a sparrow from a wren, and almost gave up bird watching. But now writer Nicolien Mizee effortlessly recognises a barred siskin or a dipper. Nicolien Mizee's Bird Book is meant to encourage laymen like herself. 'You just experience so much more of your surroundings.' How romantic: the wild swan brought writer Nicolien Mizee and her husband Rob... 

The child without a father became a father without a child. Auke Hulst wrote a novel about mourning an unborn child

It is perhaps his most ambitious novel to date, and at the same time the first he would rather not talk about. For in De Mitsukoshi Troostbaby Company, writer Auke Hulst (46) broaches a sensitive and personal theme: mourning for an unborn child. Near future The Mitsukoshi Troostbaby Company is a novel as only Auke Hulst writes it.... 

'My housemates teach me to feel and listen' Teun Toebes (22) lives in a nursing home to change the care of people with a faltering brain from within

Teun Toebes (22) shares kitchen, bathroom and toilet not with fellow students but with people with dementia. He wrote a book about it: VerpleegThuis. The book came in at number 1 in the Bestseller 60 last week, much to his delight, because Toebes wants to reach as many people as possible with his mission: to change care for people with a faltering brain. 'It... 

Writer and physicist Paolo Giordano: 'I don't want to forget that so many people have died.'

As a physicist, Paolo Giordano was deeply concerned about the development of Covid-19. As a writer, he could interpret those feelings of concern and share them with the public. Giordano's articles are collected in What I Don't Want to Forget. 'It would be a sin if all this suffering and all these deaths were in vain.' Aware of the danger When he... 

'I'm much happier than I was three years ago.' Singer Sam Bettens on his transition and new, 'revealing' music video

Friends call him brother. His children say daddy. One day he hopes to become a grandfather. Sam Bettens (49) was known worldwide as the lead singer of Belgian band K's Choice when he decided to transition. And now he walks the beach in swimming trunks: 'I never want to hide myself again.' Tomboy As a young girl, Sam Bettens was a tomboy and wore the... 

'Think about your life before something bad happens to you'. The latest interview with Ruud ten Wolde

For RTL-Boulevard reporter Ruud ten Wolde (29), these weeks would be dominated by his book Ill Happy, which comes in at number 1 in the Bestseller 60 this week, in which he writes about his illness and the insights it has brought him. Although he had been ill for six years, he still died suddenly recently. We spoke to him five... 

Betrayal as an act of love. Review of 'A friendship' by Silvia Avallone

'And then I had to recognise that too: that you cannot live, cannot grow, without experiencing a wrong friendship.' That is the conclusion drawn by Elisa, the protagonist of Silvia Avallone's new novel A Friendship. Many people will probably recognise it, that attraction to a friend or girlfriend who is not actually right for you or right for you, but... 

Too divided for unity. How a booklet on yoga nearly brought writer Emmanuel Carrère to the brink of collapse

A light-hearted and delicate little book on yoga is what French author Emmanuel Carrère intends to write. By this, he does not mean the glorified form of gymnastics that so many practise, no, he is talking about the sacred yoga that leads to calming the mind, to serenity and pure perception of what is. Al also goes after... 

Forever a little uprooted. New novel Jesús Carrasco is a portrait of contemporary Spain

Back Home, the new novel by Spanish writer Jesús Carrasco (49) is not only a portrait of a family and two generations, but also a portrait of Spain itself. 'Today's literature gives social groups a voice they didn't have before.' Three years of work and two complete novels ended up in the dustbin before Jesús Carrasco wrote his new novel Back... 

'We're not going to talk about Jiskefet, are we?' For Michiel Romeyn, all of life is theatre

Even though the satirical programme Jiskefet has not existed for more than 15 years, Michiel Romeyn (66) is still recognised on the street as 'lullo' Van Binsbergen, 'the white nigger' Oboema or office clerk Storm. In Romeyn's existence, the dividing line between life and theatre is fluid. 'I like to disrupt things,' he says. 'We're hopefully not going to talk about Jiskefet after all.... 

Antonio's eye is a novel that won't soon disappear from your retina

'Him, dammit. Do I need to be any clearer?' With those words from the irascible photographer Alessandro Pavia, who appoints orphan boy Antonio as his new assistant, a new life begins for the protagonist of the novel Antonio's Eye by Raffaella Romagnolo. Antonio Casagrande, already almost 12 and blind in one eye, had almost given up hope of ever making orphanage Pammatone... 

Marta Barone's craftsmanship glistens beneath the surface of 'Sunken City'

'It really is the case that at some point the dead come back to look for you, and then you have to have dinner with them.' Italian writer Marta Barone (34), who records these words in her novel Sunken City, experienced this first-hand when she lost her father Leonardo, now a decade ago. Barone grew up at... 

Writer Domenico Starnone on his fascination with human relationships: 'We feel fear of the other, because they always remain "the other".'

Secrets is the title of Italian writer Domenico Starnone's (78) latest novel. But actually, as far as he is concerned, the secret is not what the story is about. 'It is about the fear we feel for the other, because the other always remains, under whatever circumstances, the ánder.' Human behaviour Domenico Starnone's finely crafted, concise novels... 

In the grip of mental illness. Jan van Mersbergen wrote a novel about the demise of his family

If either parent is not firmly on their feet, how does that affect an entire family? That is what Een goede moeder (A good mother), the new novel by Jan van Mersbergen (50), is about. The story is based on the past years of his own life. 'It wasn't supposed to be a reckoning.' Adventure novel Two years ago, he said that at 50, when he was... 

Writer Henk Pröpper's slow heartbeat

Writer and publicist Henk Pröpper had only just moved to his beloved Paris when the city came to a standstill, and so did his heart almost. Once fitted with a pacemaker, he took to the city in the one hour a day Parisians were allowed. A new world opened up for him. For Henk Pröpper (62), former director... 

A dangerously hurt little bird. Writer Caroline De Mulder delved into the world of girl gangs and sugardating

Girl gangs and sugar dating - these are the themes of Bambi likes you raw. Caroline De Mulder (44) wanted to talk about the violence of women rather than against women. 'I could work out the dark, aggressive sides in myself without bashing someone's head in.' Bambi's protagonist, 16-year-old Hilda, or Bambi, as her... 

Presenter Harm Edens wrote a book about his childhood: 'I always felt like an outsider'

He is known as a writer of comedy series, such as SamSam and Het zonnetje in huis, and as presenter of the satirical TV programme Dit was het nieuws. But during Harm Edens' (59) youth, there was little to laugh at. 'Even though the whole country claps for you, if your parents don't, it's still a loss.' The 'intelligent lockdown' was last... 

'New venom is added every day.' In book, presenter Naeeda Aurangzeb lets non-white Dutch people experience what comes over them daily

Even though she has lived in the Netherlands since she was three, journalist and radio TV presenter Naeeda Aurangzeb (47) is still not considered a full-fledged compatriot. In her book 365 dagen Nederlander, she gives a disconcerting picture in short sketches of how non-white Dutch people or Dutch people with a migration background are treated. Biology teacher to class 'This is what you call olive-coloured skin. You can... 

'Silence has made me sicker.' Kathelijn Hulshof aims to break the taboo on mental illness with her book

An insight into her stormy inner self - that is what Kathelijn Hulshof (32) wants to give with her book Gevalletje borderline. We should dare to talk to each other about mental illness, she thinks. 'Then the burden becomes less heavy and lonely.' Hurricanes inside me 'No, you can't have borderline, people told me. I had completed an education, I had... 

Antonio Scurati wrote novel about Mussolini: 'Of my readers, 99 per cent consider the book anti-fascist. The other 1 per cent were already fascist and recognise themselves in it.'

Formation of the Fasci di combattimento (the Black Shirts) Milan, Piazza San Sepolcro, 23 March 1919 We look out on Piazza San Sepolcro. Barely a hundred people. All men who don't count. We are few and we are dead. They wait for me to speak, but I have nothing to say. The stage is empty, awash with eleven million corpses,... 

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