Book

Hanna Bervoets

We Had to Remove This Post

An urgent, brilliant novel which combines controversial issues with perfectly calibrated doses of emotion

Going purely by age, Hanna Bervoets can be considered a young writer. But going by her body of work, her awards and versatility, hers is already an established name on the Dutch literary scene – a leading voice in contemporary Dutch writing who explores timely issues such as privacy, genetic engineering and the medical industry in an accessible style. We Had to Remove This Post showcases her greatest strengths. The book was published in a print run of more than 600,000 copies as this year’s Book Week Gift, the featured novella which is given free to those buying a book during National Book Week.

In We Had to Remove This Post, 27-year-old Kayleigh, recounts her time as a content moderator for a large online platform. She is part of a team who review offensive videos and decide, following guidelines, what may or may not be left online. She isn’t the only one traumatised by the work: a group of former employees are suing the platform for severe psychological trauma. Kayleigh also looks back at a failed relationship. How exactly this relationship failed, what the lawsuit is about, and who is guilty of what – all is revealed bit by bit. Sometimes the pieces of the puzzle are fairly straightforward, at other times there is more ambivalence. Some information is disclosed on the first page, while other parts of the story don’t become clear until the very end.

Controversial questions about how people become numbed to violence in modern society, and about timeless human weaknesses, are combined with perfectly calibrated doses of emotion in a way that is reminiscent of Ian McEwan. But even though much remains ambivalent until the very end, one thing is clear throughout: Bervoets’ novel is brilliant, and as accessible as it is confrontational.

The dank underside of social media, its cruelty and delusions, have become, our shared affliction. It needed an accomplished novelist to explore humanely the damage. Hanna Bervoets has richly obliged in this superbly poised, psychologically astute and subtle novel of mental unravelling. At its wonderful, hallucinatory climax, Kayleigh, the shattered protagonist, asks on our behalf the one true question, and the spellbound reader will usefully struggle for an answer.

Ian McEwan

This novel gives us an acid glimpse into a new form of labor existing today, a job that extracts an immeasurable psychic toll. Fascinating and disturbing.

Ling Ma, author of Severance

Hanna Bervoets draws readers into a world not many people will know. That world, and the novel’s cast of characters, are sure to appeal to young readers too.

Nederlands Dagblad

A stunning, chilling novella […] Out of all contemporary Dutch writers, Hanna Bervoets is the most modern by far.

De Morgen

Translations

Hanna Bervoets

Hanna Bervoets (b. 1984) writes novels, essays, and screenplays. Bervoets won the 2009 Debut of the Year Award for her first novel, Of Hoe Waarom (Or, How, Why). Her second book, Lieve Céline (Dear Céline), was awarded the 2012 Opzij Literature Prize for best book by a female author. She made her…

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Details

Wat wij zagen (2021). Fiction, 96 pages.
Words: 26,643

Complete translation available

Publisher

Pluim

Spinhuissteeg 3C
1012 CJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 6 82 98 15 53

E-mail:
info@uitgeverijpluim.nl
Website:
http://www.uitgeverijpluim.nl

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Literary agent

Lisette Verhagen Peters Fraser + Dunlop

55 New Oxford Street
WC1A 1BS London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 207-344-1003
E-mail:
lverhagen@pfd.co.uk
Website:
https://petersfraserdunlop.co…

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