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Sander Kollaard

Stadium IV

A tender story of love, loss and natural beauty with an unexpected ending

Sarie and Barend, married for more than forty years, are happily looking forward to taking a trip around Europe in a camper van. Their plans come crashing down when Sarie is unexpectedly diagnosed with metastasised ‘stage IV’ cancer. Armed with painkillers, the couple return to the Swedish island where their love began.

‘“I want to go to Öland,” Sarie says. “I want to see all those places again and remember how happy we were… I don’t want to spend any more time thinking about cancer and therapies and prognoses. If you really want to help, then take me with you and make me happy like we were then, so that I can die happy.”’

Barend struggles with his wife’s decision to let her illness take its course but does everything in his power to give her the final journey she so badly wants.

Together they enjoy the Swedish countryside and the memories it conjures up for both of them, until Sarie’s tumour triggers increasingly frequent epileptic fits and dangerously uninhibited behaviour.

Ultimately Barend realises what he will have to sacrifice to keep Sarie’s happiness intact.

The story Sander Kollaard tells is pro- foundly sad without being either morose or heavy. Aside from a number of sobering digressions on euthanasia, palliative care and symptoms of the illness (‘To die of cancer is to die of a hysterical profusion of life’), *Stage IV *is above all a story about love and the ways in which a fatal illness can dramatically destabilise even an ideal relationship. But it is also a novel about the natural world and its power to console, described by Kollaard with exquisite and breathtaking precision.

Although the couple’s journey only takes them through a small part of Sweden, Sarie identifies with the protagonist of Selma Lagerlöf ’s book The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, who travels the length and breadth of the country, a physical journey that stands for a journey within. Stage IV might similarly be described as a road novel. Though limited to a single setting, it takes its characters and its readers on a journey that is both heartfelt and enriching.

  • Voted Book of the Month by the book panel of the Netherlands’ most influential talk show, De Wereld Draait Door.

Kollaard deftly keeps sentimentality at bay, yet makes the couple’s battle to find a little happiness together intensely believable […] using his protagonists’ memories to great effect. He chooses his words impeccably, striking exactly the right balance between tender and pragmatic.

Tzum

Beautiful, restrained and moving.

Haarlems Dagblad

Sander Kollaard

Historian Sander Kollaard (b. 1961) made his literary debut at the age of fifty with Onmiddellijke terugkeer van uw geliefde (The Immediate Return of Your Loved One, 2012), an unconventional short-story collection in which a Pirandello-esque tale rubs shoulders with a thought-provoking reflection…

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Details

Stadium IV (2015). Fictie, 158 pagina's.
Aantal woorden: 44.252
Oplage: 20.000

Thema's: ziekte

Uitgeverij

G.A. van Oorschot

Herengracht 613
NL - 1017 CE Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 623 14 84
Fax: +31 20 625 40 83

E-mail:
contact@vanoorschot.nl
Website:
http://www.vanoorschot.nl

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