Author

Mensje van Keulen

For many years Mensje van Keulen (b. 1946) has been steadily adding to a body of work that stands solid as a rock in the pantheon of Dutch literature. Over the past four decades, starting with her astonishing 1972 debut, *Bleekers zomer *(Bleeker’s Summer), now considered a modern Dutch classic, she has published more than 25 titles, including story and poetry collections, novels and children’s books. Critics have raved from the start about the deceptive simplicity of her stories, and the delicate grace of her style. She has been nominated for many literary prizes, and has won a number of them. In 2011 she was awarded the Charlotte Köhler Oeuvre Prize, and in 2014 the Constantijn Huygens Prize for her complete body of work.

Friends Of The Moon

(Querido, 1989, 140 pages)

In contrast to many other vampire stories Vrienden van de maan is not only exciting but also a literary feat. The story’s vampire family Morlando is thoroughly devilish. More than that it is about evil as a deliberately cultivated family trait which is seen as something to be proud of.

Read more

Mr. Ratty

(Querido, 1992, 85 pages)

The humour Van Keulen demonstrates in Friends Of The Moon also makes Meneer Ratti (‘Mr Ratty’) into a jewel with a sting. Meneer Ratti is a shabby ‘streetcomber’. He lives in a musty cellar and wanders around the rubbish in the night with apram, sniffing around to see if there is anything to his taste there.

Read more
The Last Guests

The Last Guests

(Atlas, 2007, 167 pages)

Mensje van Keulen manages to build an almost incessant tension into her writing. The reader has the constant feeling that something is about to happen: a crime, a murder, or some other calamity. There’s only one remedy: to keep on reading. In her most recent novel, De laatste gasten (The Last Guests), the main character, Florrie, is raised by her aunt Lena, a hairdresser of easy virtue, adept at backhanders.

Read more
Love has no Brains

Love has no Brains

(Atlas, 2012, 192 pages)

We find ourselves in a seemingly ordinary situation of the sort Mensje van Keulen favours for her stories and novels. She is a subtle storyteller with a sharp eye for significant, often slightly bizarre details that give her work a melancholy atmosphere and considerable power. Her characters are not superheroes, indeed they could be the man or woman next door. In Liefde heeft geen hersens (Love has no Brains) a slightly shabby block of flats serves as the realistic facade behind which all kinds of things turn out to be happening.

Read more
Queen of Spades

Queen of Spades

(Atlas Contact, 2016, 136 pages)

Mensje van Keulen was lauded at the 2015 Constantijn Huygens award ceremony for the extraordinary technical mastery she exhibits in her work: “Every story is composed with precision and sensitivity; on the surface it may seem quite normal and everyday, but her quirky imagination always gives it an unexpected twist.” Her latest novel is no exception.

Read more

Translations

Website

http://www.mensjevankeulen.nl/