Renate Rubinstein

Renate Rubinstein

Renate Rubinstein (1929-1990) was born in Germany but moved to the Netherlands in the 1930s. She wrote columns for a Dutch weekly for almost thirty years; her first collection of these columns in book form appeared in 1964.

Non-Fiction
Photo: Georg Fischer

She published numerous, and was awarded the Multatuli prize for literature in 1979. Rubinstein was a leading polemical journalist. Curious, open-hearted and engaged to her core, she also wrote openly and impressively about her inner life. Many of her twenty-six or so books are still in print. In the fall of 2020, 30 years after she passed away, an anthology of her work was published with her columns, lectures and letters, under the title Only The Courageous Ask Questions (Bange mensen stellen geen vragen).

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Renate Rubinstein

Fearful People Don't Ask Questions

Wherever Renate Rubinstein went there was uproar. Starting in 1961, she regularly caused a furor with the pieces she published. Whether it was on her love life; how she missed her father, murdered during the war; feminism or her love of cats, her writing always attests to an autonomous spirit – and her voice brings to mind Joan Didion. She wrote openly about her Jewish roots and her ambivalent attitude towards Israel. Her account of her painful divorce, Nothing to Lose and Yet Afraid, became an international classic. The columns, lectures and letters gathered in this anthology offer the reader an intimate portrait of an ambivalent woman, who never shied away from telling herself and others the truth.

Renate Rubinstein

Take It or Leave It

The theme of this book is a classic and compelling one: it is the story of an individual who stands up against an all-powerful enemy. A cunning, unpredictable, and insidious enemy, in this case, and a very terrible one. When the author first discovered its identity she felt, as she records here, a reluctance even to name it. This is an enemy there is no winning against, but in Renate Rubinstein it has found a wily and watchful antagonist who fights back with whole heart and her whole intelligence.

Renate Rubinstein

Nothing to Lose and Yet Afraid

An age-old problem of love is the fear that we could be left by the beloved. 'Nothing to Lose and Yet Afraid' is a memoir about the breakdown of a relationship and divorce, a classic in the Netherlands, in which fury, grief and fear were laid bare in Renate Rubinstein’s weekly newspaper columns.

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