Martijn Knol

Martijn Knol (b. 1973), a former stand-up performer and adman, is an unconventional and many-talented writer. Following De duiker (The Diver, 2003) and Aphinar, een romantische tragedie (Aphinar, A Romantic Tragedy, 2007), Alles kan kapot (Anything Can Break, 2011) is his third and most ambitious novel. While it shows the influence of great authors like Céline and David Foster Wallace, Knol speaks with an authentic and deeply original voice.

Anything Can Break

Anything Can Break

(Wereldbibliotheek, 2011, 526 pages)

Alles kan kapot (Anything Can Break) moves between Arnhem, Germany, Vienna, Lesbos and New York and spans three generations in the life of a family. Starting in the present, we accompany the characters on a journey ever deeper into the past, witnessing the events that shaped them. The book ends in 1945, when Grandfather Ambrosius decides to make a fresh start and say nothing about the violence he saw and endured as a factory worker in southern Germany during the war. By that point, we know that this man will later damage his yet unborn daughter Merel, dooming her to a lifetime of silence and isolation. And even before that, at the start of the story in 2011, we have learned how Merel’s…

Read more