Author

Vonne van der Meer

Vonne van der Meer (b. 1952) made her breakthrough with Eilandgasten (Island Guests, 1999), a novel about visitors to a guesthouse on the island of Vlieland. The sequels De avondboot (The Evening Boat, 2001) and Laatste seizoen (Final Season, 2003) were also highly praised. Since her debut in 1985 her name has been associated with sensual portrayals of female fantasies and secrets, highlights being the novel Een warme rug (A Warm Back, 1987) and the story collection Nachtgoed (Nightwear, 1993). As the years have gone by, her work has acquired a more humanist accent, as in the novels Ik verbind u door (I’ll Put You Through, 2004) and Take 7 (2007). She explained the shift in subject matter by saying ‘We all get older.’

He's Like That

He's Like That

(Contact, 1991, 143 pages)

In one of Vonne van der Meer’s short stories, De oude vrouw en de jonge man, ‘The Old Woman and the Young Man’, a Dutch woman celebrates her seventieth birthday alone in an outdoor cafe in Madrid. ‘When she was alone she had no age:’ A handsome young Spaniard who tries to sell her two tickets for a bullfight offers to accompany her himself when he learns that she is alone.

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Island Guests

(Contact, 1999, 206 pages)

In what is by now the extensive oeuvre of Vonne van der Meer, islands occupy a place of prominence. Her characters visit islands in search of peace and quiet, and are then compelled by the isolation to reflect on their lives. On an island, we learn from her new book, everything happens for the first time. Eilandgasten takes place in a holiday house on an island off the coast of Holland called Vlieland. The scheme of the novel, which is brilliant in its simplicity, enables the author to incorporate six very different stories, or mini-dramas. Each chapter introduces a new tenant or tenants; the holiday house is the principal thread that runs through them.

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The Night Boat

The Night Boat

(Contact, 2001, 203 pages)

In her successful novel Eilandgasten (Island Guests), Vonne van der Meer had her characters arriving at a holiday home on the Dutch island of Vlieland, where their stories were set: six different stories, but all with a common location. The idea of telling the stories of a cottage’s guests is too good to be exhausted after just one book. After all, an island is an island; you cannot leave just like that.

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I’ll Put You Through

I’ll Put You Through

(Contact, 2004, 176 pages)

In I’ll Put You Through Vonne van der Meer shows what huge consequences small acts can lead to. The story takes place on 10 September 2002, one day before the first commemoration of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.

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Sunday Evening

Sunday Evening

(Contact, 2009, 168 pages)

Vonne van der Meer is clever at revealing the little frictions within everyday human intercourse and this places her at a lonely altitude in the Dutch-speaking world. Zondagavond (Sunday Evening) is more plot-driven that her other novels but it too involves a secret that a man has borne within him for far too long. It is an intelligent, subtle novel.

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The Narrow Path

The Narrow Path

(Atlas Contact, 2013, 218 pages)

Vonne van der Meer came to fame with a series of successful and award-winning novels set on the holiday island of Vlieland. Her great strength lies in describing the lives of ordinary people who hide their inner struggles beneath a tranquil surface. This is no less true of The Narrow Path of Love, the story of two couples, one of which lost a child years earlier.

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Translations

Website

http://www.vonnevandermeer.nl