The Netherlands as a nightmare
The future of the Netherlands doesn’t look good in the thriller Gentleman Farmer by Lupko Ellen. The once so liberal Netherlands have decided in favour of an extreme right-wing government, resulting in a paranoid coexistence where everyone fears the unknown, a prison-ship where ‘deviant’ aliens are given a re-education course and where boundaries are watertight. As a pariah in the EU, the Netherlands also starts to sink economically into a deep abyss.
Menkema resists this development. The ex-military, who has retired to his farm in the Groningen countryside, swings into action when the son of his Afghan wife is led off to that prison-ship. Even the army is brought in against the Groningen gentleman farmer, which leads to an explosive finale.
Lupko Allen presents his story fluently and skilfully. The reflections and political complications do not slow the story down. The descriptions of the tranquil atmosphere of East Groningen are really something, betraying the origins of the writer, who with Herenboer, has rounded off his Menkema trilogy.
In the grim scenario of future developments in the Netherlands, the mental legacy of Geert Wilders and his PVV is clearly recognisable, although in his thriller Ellen seeks out the most far-reaching consequences of those ideas. In addition, Afghan corruption, forsworn terrorism and power-seeking Chechnya also play a role. As a result of this, the thriller has almost become a political diatribe of the best kind, with a warning finger raised against all political ideals that are too extreme.