Author

Kees van Beijnum

Kees van Beijnum (b. 1954) originally worked as a journalist, but after reporting on a case of murder in Amsterdam-Noord, in Over het IJ (Over the IJ Water, 1991), he opted to become a full-time writer. In the novel Dichter op de Zeedijk (A Poet at the Zeedijk, 1995), his literary ambitions became more serious and later novels such as De ordening (The Archives, 1998) and the successful De oesters van Nam Kee (Oysters at Nam Kee’s, 2000), which received the Bordewijk Award and was made into a successful film, demonstrated his increasing mastery of the profession. Whereas his earlier work was strongly biographically tinted, the later novels have broadened out. Van Beijnum’s work follows the tradition of such great American writers as Capote, Hemingway, and Faulkner. His characters attempt to get a grip on the world, and deliberate on their own participation in it, subtly covering major ethical and social problems in the process. In 2002 Van Beijnum published the novel De vrouw die alles had (The Woman Who Had Everything), followed in 2004 by Het verboden pad (The Forbidden Path) and in 2008 by Paradiso.

The Archives

The Archives

(Nijgh & Van Ditmar, 1998, 316 pages)

Where does innocence end and complicity begin? In De ordening the author is concerned with the tension between Good and Evil. The main character, Stella, is a recent philosophy graduate, unemployed and living in a poor Amsterdam neighbourhood. She has no career plans, partner, ideals or ambitions, and her relationship with her divorced parents is limited to a few phone calls a year. She is the personification of modern rootlessness and feels alienated from the absurd world around her, in which she wishes to take no part.

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The Forbidden Path

The Forbidden Path

(De Bezige Bij, 2004, 451 pages)

This is the story of Philip Soek, social worker, whose first job is in a home for problem children where discipline is maintained through a complicated system of rewards. Because Soek comes from a wealthy family both inmates and his colleagues wary of him and he works flat hour to win their approval.

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Paradiso

Paradiso

(De Bezige Bij, 2008, 293 pages)

From the very first pages of his new novel, Kees van Beijnum puts the reader on edge. After six months, scientific researcher and happiness expert Mart Hitz, married father of a fourteen-year-old girl, decides to leave home for his mistress Karin. However, nature is stronger than he is: when he comes home, to announce his decision, it is to find out that a dyke has broken and that the villagers – Dana, Mart’s wife among them – have been evacuated to the bowling alley. But when Mart goes there and doesn’t find her, a dark, winding hunt commences. Along with the police, his inlaws, and his daughter, he follows the leads of the few witnesses and slowly becomes mired in quicksand as he…

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Translations

Website

http://www.keesvanbeijnum.nl