Author

Oek de Jong

Oek de Jong (1952) broke through in 1979 with his debut novel Opwaaiende zomerjurken (Billowing Summer Dresses). Over fifteen months, the novel was reprinted nineteen times and sold 95,000 copies. He confirmed his status as one of the Netherlands’ top authors with the philosophical and equally successful novel Cirkel in het gras (Circle in the Grass, 1985) and Hokwerda’s kind (Hokwerda’s Child, 2002), a tragic portrait of a woman. Pier and Ocean (2013) was shortlisted for the Libris Literature Prize and won both the Gouden Boekenuil (‘Golden Book Owl’) and the F. Bordewijk Prize. Zwarte schuur was awarded with the Boekenbon Literatuurprijs 2020.

Billowing Summer Frocks

Billowing Summer Frocks

(Augustus, 1979, 271 pages)

In the first part of Billowing Summer Frocks we are introduced to eight-year-old Edo Mesch during a languid summer in rural Zeeland. He clings to his mother, but he also torments her. His squint keeps him indoors and away from his friends. Angry and proud, he spends his days sailing the imaginary seas with the aid of a rake.

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Circle in the Grass

Circle in the Grass

(Meulenhoff Boekerij, 1985, 432 pages)

Oek de Jong’s prime preoccupation, the desire for a harmonious life – whether or not through art – is repeated in this novel set in Italy in the late seventies, gripped by the horror of the kidnap and murder of the politician Aldo Moro. One of its ideas is that whoever strives for a Buddhist approach to life must recognize that good and evil are two sides of the same coin: the Red Brigade on the one side and their capitalist victim on the other.

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A Man Leaping Into the Future

A Man Leaping Into the Future

(Augustus, 1997, 222 pages)

It is difficult to define precisely what the term ‘essay’ means. Montaigne would have been amazed to see how newspaper articles, meditations and even columns, once collected, are suddenly labelled ‘essays’. Yet everyone has some idea of what the ideal essay should be: a well thought-out piece, personal but well-informed, in which a thought is unfolded, tested and weighed. Oek de Jong, who occasionally wrote essays in the years when he wasn’t working on a new novel, proves that he knows what the essay genre is all about.

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Hokwerda’s Child

Hokwerda’s Child

(Augustus, 2002, 444 pages)

In the late 1970s, Oek de Jong’s debut, Opwaaiende zomerjurken (Billowing Summer Dresses), became a genuine cult book for a whole generation of students. It was followed by the beautiful ‘Roman’ novel Cirkel in het gras (Circle in the Grass), after which silence reigned. The announced publication of De Jong’s third novel, Hokwerda’s kind, mesmerised the literary world. And rightly so: he has issued a brilliant psychological novel that, at one stroke, has placed him among the foremost Dutch authors.

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Pier and Ocean

Pier and Ocean

(Augustus, 2013, 804 pages)

In this monumental novel, Oek de Jong tells the story of Dina Houttuyn and her son, Abel Roorda. He shows that no one is born without a history and that our lives are influenced by those of our parents and ancestors. This portrayal of the still sober mentality of the post-war Netherlands is painted in a evocative style, with strong, atmospheric scenes.

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Black Barn

Black Barn

(Atlas Contact, 2019, 489 pages)

In a grand, sweeping novel, Oek de Jong shows how artist Maris Coppoolse is tortured by his past and the huge impact this has, not only on his work, but also on the lives of his loved ones.

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Translations

Website

http://oekdejong.nl/