Author

Carl Friedman

Carl Friedman (b. 1952) worked as a newspaper journalist. She made her debut in 1991 with the novella Tralievader (Nightfather), which was hailed as a small masterpiece by readers and critics in the Netherlands, Germany and the United States. Next came the novel Twee koffers vol (Two Bagfuls, 1993, published in English as The Shovel and the Loom) which enjoyed equal success. The book was made into a film entitled Left Luggage (1998). In 1996 Friedman published De grauwe minnaar (The Grey Lover), a collection of three short stories.

The Shovel and the Loom

The Shovel and the Loom

(G.A. van Oorschot, 1993, 468 pages)

With remarkable economy and the acuity of a Salinger, Carl Friedman creates a fictional world so insistently present that it stays with the reader, like the all-encompassing worlds of lengthy novels by the nineteenth-century realists. Her subjectmatter is the sufferings of the Shoah, which has left its stamp on her characters’ lives long after the Second World War is over. Friedman has a simple yet refined ability to blend the everyday lives of ordinary people with the great themes of the twentieth century.

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The Grey Lover

The Grey Lover

(G.A. van Oorschot, 1996, 170 pages)

Carl Friedman hates always being expected to say something about the Jewish experience in interviews. ‘It’s scarcely a motivating force for me.’ She prefers, a propos of her latest collection of stories, to observe that she always writes about strong women. ‘I can’t imagine writing about a woman who doesn’t stand on her own two feet. Women are generally stronger than men. You don’t find many men with backbone.’ It is true that Jewishness is not so much the underlying theme of Friedman’s work as an axiomatic motif, and as for the women, they certainly do stand out in the three stories in De grauwe minnaar.

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