Nicolette Smabers

Nicolette Smabers (b. 1948) wrote her debut, a well-received collection of short stories entitled De Franse tuin (‘The French Garden’), in 1983. She followed this with the novellas Portret van mijn engel (‘Portrait of my Angel’, 1987) and Chinezen van glas (‘Chinese in Glass’, 1991), and several children’s books. In 1992, she was awarded the Halewyn Prize. After several years of silence, she published her first novel, Stiefmoeder (‘Stepmother’) in 2003. In 2004, a new collection of her first three books, entitled De Franse tuin. Verhalen en novellen, (‘The French Garden. Stories and Novellas’) was published. De man van gas en licht (‘The Gas and Electricity Man’) is her second novel. In 2021 she published Vraag dat maar aan de pelikanen (‘Go Ask The Pelicans’).

Chinese in Glass

( 1991, 111 pages)

Stopping to look at the ordinary things in life, that is the typical attitude of the main characters in all three of Nicolette Smabers’s books to date. The female narrator attempts to define her childhood as an Indonesian and a Catholic living in The Hague. Yet the more accurate her description becomes, the more puzzling it seems to appear. Like the marbles which Edith Persoon takes with her after visiting her Aunt Dora in Chinezen van glas: the multicoloured signs inside are Chinese characters - says Edith - which have to be read under a magnifying glass.

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The Gas and Electricity Man

The Gas and Electricity Man

( 2009, 302 pages)

Nicolette Smabers once said in an interview, that ‘story telling is an act of love’. This statement characterizes the way she writes. Withholding important information from children, thus denying them the right to the truth, and resulting in a lopsided view of reality, plays a role in all of Smabers’ work.

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