Author

Stefan Hertmans

Stefan Hertmans (b. 1951) has made a name as a poet and essayist, but he has also written extraordinary travelogues and a theatre play. In addition, his novels and collections of short stories have been consistently praised by the critics. The quality of his work has been recognized with awards in the Netherlands and in Flanders. In 2002, his most important essays to date were collected in the Het putje van Milete (The Well of Miletus) and in 2008 he received the five-yearly essay prize of the Royal Academy for Netherlands Language and Literature for Het zwijgen van de tragedie (The Silence of the Tragedy). His novels Naar Merelbeke (To Merelbeke, 1994), Als op de eerste dag (Like the First Day, 2001) and Harder dan sneeuw (Harder than Snow, 2004), each elaborated in a very personal way, primarily cover themes such as memories of youth and the relationship between imagination and reality.

Cities

Cities

(De Bezige Bij, 1998, 256 pages)

This new collection by Flemish writer and poet Stefan Hertmans is called Steden: simple but forceful. The title betrays both the passion with which the writer tries to uncover the meaning behind the face of each city he visits, as well as the intellectual power that lies at the heart of these stories. A constant aid in Hertmans’s travels to such cities as Dresden, Vienna and Trieste is world literature.

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Like The First Day

Like The First Day

(De Bezige Bij, 2001, 192 pages)

As in his first, successful novel, Terug naar Merelbeke (Back to Merelbeke) – in which a young boy imagines paradise appearing in Merelbeke, in reality, a small ugly, grey Flemish town – in Als op de eerste dag (Like the First Day) Stefan Hertmans goes in search of the sensation of the first time: first look, first love, first experience. Not by returning to the lost years of his youth, but by another path: the dark, often destructive immoral realm of the imagination.

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Hidden Fibre

Hidden Fibre

(De Bezige Bij, 2008, 192 pages)

Het verborgen weefsel (Hidden Fibre) is Stefan Hertmans’ fourth novel, again unique in its combination of structure and content. In fragmentary way he explores and evokes the consciousness of forty-year old author Jelina. Married with an eight-year-old daughter, she leads a comfortable and independent life, and yet she feels dejected and discontented, and these ‘incongruous feelings’ burden her life, her work and her relationship with her husband.

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Translations

Website

http://www.stefanhertmans.be