Author

Oek de Jong

Oek de Jong (b. 1952) made his debut with a collection of short stories, De hemelvaart van Massimo (Massimo’s Ascension, 1976), for which he was given the Reina Prinsen Geerligs Prize for young writers. He enjoyed his real breakthrough in 1979 with the novel Opwaaiende zomerjurken (Billowing Summer Skirts), which was an enormous success. His second novel, Cirkel in het gras (Circle in the Grass, 1985), was also very well received. De Jong went on to publish the novella De inktvis (The Octopus, 1993), a collection of essays entitled Een man die in de toekomst springt (A Man Leaping Into the Future, 1997) and the novel Hokwerda’s kind (Hokwerda’s Child, 2002). In 2012 he published his 800-page opus magnum, Pier en oceaan, which was awarded the F. Bordewijk Prize and the Gouden Uil. De Jong’s books have been translated into nine languages and sold over 500.000 copies in total. His most recent publication is an essay on the state of the novel, What Only the Novel Can Say (2013).

Billowing Summer Frocks

Billowing Summer Frocks

(Augustus, 1979, 271 pages)

In the first part of Billowing Summer Frocks we are introduced to eight-year-old Edo Mesch during a languid summer in rural Zeeland. He clings to his mother, but he also torments her. His squint keeps him indoors and away from his friends. Angry and proud, he spends his days sailing the imaginary seas with the aid of a rake.

Read more
Circle in the Grass

Circle in the Grass

(J.M. Meulenhoff, 1985, 432 pages)

Oek de Jong’s prime preoccupation, the desire for a harmonious life – whether or not through art – is repeated in this novel set in Italy in the late seventies, gripped by the horror of the kidnap and murder of the politician Aldo Moro. One of its ideas is that whoever strives for a Buddhist approach to life must recognize that good and evil are two sides of the same coin: the Red Brigade on the one side and their capitalist victim on the other.

Read more
A Man Leaping Into the Future

A Man Leaping Into the Future

(Augustus, 1997, 222 pages)

It is difficult to define precisely what the term ‘essay’ means. Montaigne would have been amazed to see how newspaper articles, meditations and even columns, once collected, are suddenly labelled ‘essays’. Yet everyone has some idea of what the ideal essay should be: a well thought-out piece, personal but well-informed, in which a thought is unfolded, tested and weighed. Oek de Jong, who occasionally wrote essays in the years when he wasn’t working on a new novel, proves that he knows what the essay genre is all about.

Read more
Hokwerda’s Child

Hokwerda’s Child

(Augustus, 2002, 444 pages)

In the late 1970s, Oek de Jong’s debut, Opwaaiende zomerjurken (Billowing Summer Dresses), became a genuine cult book for a whole generation of students. It was followed by the beautiful ‘Roman’ novel Cirkel in het gras (Circle in the Grass), after which silence reigned. The announced publication of De Jong’s third novel, Hokwerda’s kind, mesmerised the literary world. And rightly so: he has issued a brilliant psychological novel that, at one stroke, has placed him among the foremost Dutch authors.

Read more
Pier and Ocean

Pier and Ocean

(Augustus, 2013, 804 pages)

In this monumental novel, Oek de Jong tells the story of Dina Houttuyn and her son, Abel Roorda. He shows that no one is born without a history and that our lives are influenced by those of our parents and ancestors. This portrayal of the still sober mentality of the post-war Netherlands is painted in a evocative style, with strong, atmospheric scenes.

Read more

Translations

Website

http://oekdejong.nl/