Author

Karlijn Stoffels

Karlijn Stoffels (b. 1947) has become one of the most dedicated authors in the Netherlands. Her debut Mosje en Reizele (1996) (which won many awards and has been translated as far afield as Japan) tells the story of Jewish orphans in Poland during the Second World War who manage to keep going with desperate cheerfulness under formidable circumstances. Stoffels is able to convey, convincingly and unsentimentally, the mental resilience of young people. Life is far from easy for the main characters in Stiefland (1997), Khalid (1998) and Rattenvanger (2000). And yet they manage to overcome hardship, and with the required irony and self-mockery, are even able to achieve a degree of inner harmony. She is not afraid to write about serious social problems, as is demonstrated by her well received Stiefland (1997), Marokko aan de plas (2002) and Een-nul voor de autisten (2003). Stoffels’ protagonists often balance on the threshold of childhood and adulthood. But in 2004 she surprised her readers with a happy fairytale for eight-year-olds, Foead en de vliegende badmat. In the romantic and timeless Koningsdochter, zeemanslief (2005), Stoffels definitively demonstrates her great and versatile talent for storytelling.

Moshe and Reizele

Moshe and Reizele

(Querido Kinderboeken, 1996, 158 pages)

Mosje en Reizele is made up of three parts. The first section is contemporary and is set in Tel Aviv in 1995. Moshe Schuster, the retired main character, has been asked to speak on the radio about the experiences he had fifty-five years earlier in the Warsaw orphanage run by the famous physician, educationalist and author, Dr Korczak. This request, together with an old song which bears the name of his childhood love, sets off a flood of memories.

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Ratcatcher

Ratcatcher

(Querido Kinderboeken, 2000, 137 pages)

Fourteen-year-old Lori, the narrator in Rattenvanger, doesn’t get much love, or care. Her parents are divorced. She sees little of her father and her mother has been a manic depressive for years. In fact, it is Lori who looks after her mother and keeps house, not the other way round. And that’s quite something when your mother, in a manic fit, proves capable of painting the whole house blue, furniture included. But Lori doesn’t complain. She is quickwitted enough to keep up at school without difficulty, and makes sure she never invites classmates to her home.

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King’s Daughter, Sailor’s Sweetheart

King’s Daughter, Sailor’s Sweetheart

(Querido Kinderboeken, 2005, 122 pages)

Koningsdochter, zeemanslief (King’s Daughter, Sailor’s Sweetheart) by Karlijn Stoffels is a fairytale story for young and old about the beauty and the sadness of love. In this chain of eleven melancholy life stories that give the impression of being based on old folktales, Stoffels sings of the romantic love between man and wife, the never-ceasing love of a son for his mother, the suffocating love of a mother for her son, the lack of love of parents for their royal daughter, the deep love of a carpenter’s daughter for a sailor, the sailor’s everlasting love for the sea and the sweethearts he has in every port. Stoffels shows how the whims of love determine the course of our life.…

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