The Penguin Book of Dutch Short Stories
In 2005 Joost Zwagerman gathered the very best short stories by Dutch and Flemish writers in a monumental anthology numbering almost 1,600 pages. Unlike English speaking countries and elsewhere, the Netherlands had never held the short story in very high regard. Zwagerman’s intention was to give ‘literature’s stepchild’ the attention it deserved. The anthology was a runaway success. A year later Zwagerman published another collection of sixty ‘long short stories’, or novellas.
More recently, Zwagerman, who died in 2015, undertook the editing of this English anthology, published by Penguin Books on 29th September 2016 – a shortened version of the Dutch original, providing a priceless overview of the very best of Dutch literature. The collection contains, in chronological order from 1880 – the birth of the modern short story – to the present day, 250 short stories by major writers. Zwagerman selected stories by canonical authors like Marcellus Emants, Nescio, Louis Couperus, Hella S. Haasse, Harry Mulisch and Cees Nooteboom, but also by contemporary writers such as Arnon Grunberg, Sanneke van Hassel and Joost de Vries. In his introduction, he places the Dutch short story in both its historical and international context.
These stories present some of the most ground-breaking and innovative writing in Dutch literature. Blending unforgettable snapshots of the realities of everyday life with surrealism, fantasy and subversion, this collection shows Dutch writing to be an integral part of world literary history.