Author

Jan Brokken

A well-known journalist, Jan Brokken made his debut as a writer in 1984 with the largely autobiographical novel De provincie (The Province) which was made into a successful film. He has published gripping travel books about far-off places including Africa, Indonesia and Curaçao. He is the author of the acclaimed and bestselling Jungle Rudy (2006) and of Baltische zielen (Baltic Souls, 2010), which was longlisted for the European Book Prize 2011. In the international press his work, which has been translated into several languages, has been compared to that of Graham Greene and Bruce Chatwin.

Jungle Rudy

Jungle Rudy

(Atlas, 1999, 269 pages)

Jungle Rudy is Jan Brokken’s tribute to the legendary adventurer and pioneer Rudy Truffino, who spent the greater part of his life mapping, discovering and opening up the jungle in the south-east of Venezuela, once rightly called ‘The Lost World’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The book starts off with a brief sketch of Truffino’s life in the 1960s before he ended up in Venezuela, including a succesful attempt at escaping from a fire squad in the Domenican Republic. None of the events however could prepare him for the life that lay waiting.

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In the House of the Poet

In the House of the Poet

(Atlas, 2008, 378 pages)

Russian concert pianist Youri Egorov (1954-88) was a cult hero. Jan Brokken got to know Egorov in the 1970s when he travelled with him for a magazine article that he was to write to a performance in England. Egorov’s playing was out of this world but he was agitated by the orchestra’s indifference: ‘Not one spark of enthusiasm, I can’t stand that.’

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Baltic Souls

Baltic Souls

Changing fortunes in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

(Atlas Contact, 2010, 463 pages)

During a boat trip on the Baltic, Jan Brokken chanced upon Pärnu harbour, on the Estonian coast of the Gulf of Riga. It was an unforgettable introduction to the Baltic lands: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. The extraordinary light, the tranquil landscape and the stories he heard there drew him back time and again. In Baltic Souls, Brokken connects the cultural richness and social diversity of the region over the past eight centuries with tales of personal tragedy and a first-hand account of his travels.

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The Reprisal

The Reprisal

A village in wartime

(Atlas Contact, 2013, 383 pages)

The Reprisal is an unforgettable examina­tion in microcosm of the Second World War and everything connected with it: murder and arson, poverty and betrayal, heroic courage and illusions of happiness. Continually deliberating and investigat­ing, Brokken takes us with him into the underworld of a small Dutch village during the German occupation, ultimately raising more questions than he answers.

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The Cossack Garden

The Cossack Garden

(Atlas Contact, 2015, 320 pages)

St Petersburg, 21 December 1849, and a man in his late twenties in a white shirt stands in front of a firing squad in the cold. He kisses the silver crucifix held to his lips by a priest, in the sure knowledge that he is about to die. Just before the command ‘Fire!’ is given, a pardon arrives from the Czar. The white-shirted man is the writer Fyodor Mikhaelovich Dostoyevsky. Alexander von Wrangel, a student, eleven years younger, is a witness.

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Translations

Website

http://www.janbrokken.nl