Book

Mariken Jongman

Kiek

Literary portait of teenage girls, realistic and full of humor

‘I’m the result of a mercy shag.’ These are the words of fourteen-year-old Kiek, whose mother has told her she was conceived in a broom cupboard. Her father is some bass guitarist or other – she’s prepared to say that much at least, but she won’t reveal any more about him than that. And so Kiek sets out on her own investigation.

She’s realistic enough to know that a bass guitarist who disappeared fourteen years ago is not going to be an easy man to find, so, given the lack of actual clues, she decides to create a father herself. She dives into the music scene with her ‘instant best friend’ Lottie, and using Frankenstein’s monster as an example, she takes an ear from one guitarist and a nose from another, slowly building up a fantasy picture of the father she has never known. At the same time, through careful questioning and casual remarks from her grandparents and her former stepdad Wieger, Kiek discovers that the unknown bass guitarist may not be quite as unknown as her mother has always led her to believe.

Kiek is a story, both hilarious and bittersweet, about a girl who goes in search of her roots. Jongman tells her tale in a lively style, constantly going off at a tangent and casually jumping backwards and forwards between the present and the past, in the matter- of-fact prose of a teenage girl. Now and then, there’s a little romance (‘Why could I feel that tingle? I really didn’t like him at all. All I needed was his nose and two of his personality traits and he could keep the rest.’), but it never takes over. The central theme remains Kiek’s search for her father. The fact that she actually finds him may come as a bit of a surprise in a story by a writer who has such a down-to-earth and realistic style.

But Jongman does not fall into the trap of the happy ending; Kiek’s father is no dream dad. Jongman has created an ending that is worthy of Kiek.

Only good books can do that: bring real people closer to us, even people who appear to be unpleasant or who stubbornly persist in inexplicable behaviour. Kiek is one of the finest YA novels of the past year.’

De Volkskrant

Jongman writes in a style that is deceptively light-hearted and easy to read, but very skilfully combines her different storylines and uses beautiful metaphors for the issues she wants to bring up for discussion.’

Noordhollands Dagblad

A true-to-life book about a teenage girl with all her rebelliousness, creativity and vulnerability.

Dagblad van het Noorden

Mariken Jongman

Mariken Jongman (b. 1965) writes songs and performs plays for young people, which she takes on tour around schools and theatres. In 2005, she made her debut as a children’s writer with Rits, the drily humorous, diary-like story of thirteen-year-old Rits, who is temporarily dumped on his uncle…

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Details

Kiek (2009). Children's books, 222 pages.

Age: 8+

Sample translation

English (PDF document)

Publisher

Lemniscaat

Vijverlaan 48
NL - 3062 HL Rotterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 10 206 29 29
Fax: +31 10 414 15 60

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

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