Harry Mulisch was born on July 29, 1927 in Haarlem to a Jewish mother and a half-German, half-Austrian father. After his parents divorced in 1937, he was raised by his father’s German housekeeper. The father was joint director of a banking firm which was a repository for stolen Jewish funds. ‘I didn’t so much “experience? the war: I am the Second World War,’ Mulisch wrote in the autobiographical Mijn getijdenboek (My Book of Hours, 1975). Het stenen bruidsbed (The Stone Bridal Bed, 1959) is regarded as the best work from his early period. In addition to novels, Mulisch has written plays, poetry, political pieces and philosophical studies. He is one of the most illustrious authors in the Netherlands today. His work is held in high regard, as witness the numerous awards he has received, including the P.C. Hooft Prize (1977), the Constantijn Huygens Prize (1977) and the Dutch Literature Prize (Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren, 1995). Mulisch gained international fame with De ontdekking van de hemel (The Discovery of Heaven, 1992). The American press compared him with Homer, Dante and Goethe.