Author

A.F.Th. van der Heijden

A.F.Th. van der Heijden (b. 1951) studied psychology and philosophy in Nijmegen, but after moving to Amsterdam he turned to writing. His first two books appeared under the pseudonym Patrizio Canaponi: the short-story collection Een gondel in de Herengracht (A Gondola in the Herengracht, 1978; Anton Wachter Prize 1979) and the novel De draaideur (The Revolving Door, 1979). Van der Heijden won national fame with De tandeloze tijd (The Toothless Time), a brilliant seven-volume saga about Amsterdam in the seventies and eighties, published between 1983 and 1996. In 2003 De Movo Tapes appeared, the first volume of a new cycle of novels, entitled Homo duplex, followed by Het schervengericht (Judgement by Shards, 2007).

The last few years have been turbulent and tragic for Van der Heijden. In 2011 his only child Tonio was killed in a road accident and precisely a year later he published an autobiographical novel, an impressive picture of his son that is imbued with his regret at never having been the father he wanted to be. Tonio was awarded the Libris Literature Prize and the Readers’ Prize, and this year the author received the ultimate Dutch literary honour, the P.C. Hooft Prize.

The Battle of the Blue Bridge

(Querido, 1983, 121 pages)

In this book, which is the overture to the cycle of novels De tandeloze tijd (The Toothless Time), the leading character in the first two volumes is introduced. Albert Egberts is a thirty-year-old junky who by means of a pair of scissors gains entry to cars and empties them to finance his habit. He realizes that he has turned thirty on the day that Queen Beatrix of Holland was crowned in a turbulent Amsterdam on 30 April 1980.

Read more
Falling Parents / The Danger Triangle

Falling Parents / The Danger Triangle

(Querido, 1983, 470 pages)

From the outset Albert Egberts is looking for a method to neutralise the crushing effect of the ravages of time. He wishes to compress ‘the broadness of life’, as many impressions as possible, into one moment. A determinant factor in the structure of the first volumes of the novel cycle De tandeloze tijd (The Toothless Time) is Egberts’ method of recollection. Starting in contemporary Amsterdam he plunges farther and farther back in time.

Read more
Lawyer to the Punks

Lawyer to the Punks

(Querido, 1990, 573 pages)

A.F.Th van der Heijden’s books incorporate historical events and real locations. His main characters were born during the postwar period of reconstruction, as adults in an increasingly prosperous world they search for stimuli in an attempt to give form and content to their lives.

Read more
Ash Destination

Ash Destination

(De Bezige Bij, 1994, 344 pages)

Reality and fiction are always closely bound up together in the work of A.F.Th. van der Heijden. Historical events – such as the coronation of Queen Beatrix in 1980, which was marked by serious disorder on the streets, and the social unrest of the seventies and eighties – form the backdrop to the dramatic lives of his characters, who are often based on real people.

Read more

The Court of Mercy

De tandeloze tijd 3, eerste boek

(Querido, 1996, 656 pages)

After the appearance of the first parts of his cycle of novels De tandeloze tijd (The Toothless Time), A.F.Th. van der Heijden was heralded ‘the voice of his generation’ and a king among chroniclers. Now that these two massive books which record the seventies have appeared, the jubilant critics and readers leave no room for doubt – Van der Heijden is not only the greatest writer of his generation but also an author whose literary aims go far beyond the description of the Zeitgeist.

Read more

Under the Pavement the Morass

De tandeloze tijd 3, tweede boek

(Querido, 1996, 768 pages)

After the appearance of the first parts of his cycle of novels De tandeloze tijd (The Toothless Time), A.F.Th. van der Heijden was heralded ‘the voice of his generation’ and a king among chroniclers. Now that these two massive books which record the seventies have appeared, the jubilant critics and readers leave no room for doubt – Van der Heijden is not only the greatest writer of his generation but also an author whose literary aims go far beyond the description of the Zeitgeist.

Read more
The Movo Tapes

The Movo Tapes

(Querido, 2003, 715 pages)

After seven years of silence A.F.Th. van der Heijden has published De Movo Tapes, the ‘zeroth’ volume of the Homo duplex – ‘split human’ – series that, according to a list of titles in the front of the book, will extend over nine volumes.

Read more
Judgement by Shards

Judgement by Shards

(Querido, 2007, 1051 pages)

A.F.Th. van der Heijden’s thick new novel Het schervengericht (Judgement by Shards), with its familiar yet strange and unsettling story, surprises the reader at every twist and turn. The action takes place within only a few months at the turn of 1977/1978, and the setting is limited to the Choreo prison in San Bernardino, California, U.S.A.

Read more
Tonio

Tonio

(De Bezige Bij, 2011, 640 pages)

A.F.Th. van der Heijden already had a number of ‘requiems’ to his name: for a childhood sweetheart, a cousin who died in an accident, his father, his mother and a good friend. He has proven himself able to use the subject of death to lend meaning to their lives, with great retroactive force. Looking back, these books were merely the prelude to his most recent ‘requiem novel’, a hefty book that overshadows everything that came before: Tonio.

Read more
The Hellcat

The Hellcat

(De Bezige Bij, 2013, 244 pages)

A.F.Th. van der Heijden is back with a short novel that returns to a domain in which he excels, describing a childhood in the sultry, deeply Catholic south of the Netherlands. The story is told by Albert Egbers, whom readers remember from Van der Heijden’s magisterial cycle of novels The Toothless Time. Everyone, including the author, thought that series had come to an end, but The Hellcat brings its world back to life.

Read more
The Morning Gift

The Morning Gift

(De Bezige Bij, 2015, 256 pages)

What happens to someone caught in the diplomatic push-and-pull of great powers jostling for territory and riches? That is the tense world in which Caspar Sonmans, the hero of A.F.Th. van der Heijden’s very first historical novel, finds himself fatally embroiled.

Read more

Translations

Website

http://www.afth.nl/