Thomas Rosenboom

Thomas Rosenboom

Thomas Rosenboom (b. 1956) made his debut in 1983 with a collection of short stories called 'De mensen thuis' (Those at Home), for which he received the Van der Hoogt Prize. Two years later he published the novel 'Vriend van verdienste' (An Honourable Friend), based on the true story of a teen homicide.

Photo: Klaas Koppe

In 1994 he astonished both critics and readers with Gewassen vlees (Washed Flesh), about the diabolical character William Augustijn van Donck. This was followed by Publieke werken (Public Works, 1999), which describes the tragic downfall of a nineteenth-century pharmacist and a violin maker. Both these novels were awarded the prestigious Libris Literature Prize. Rosenboom further published the novel De nieuwe man (The New Man, 2003), Spitzen (Point Shoes, 2004) and Zoete mond (Sweet Mouth, 2009). Controversial was his essay on the decline of educational standards, Denkend aan Holland (Thoughts About Holland, 2005).

The magic of Rosenboom’s great novels rests on a number of classical literary devices perfectly implemented. The historical backgrounds in his novels are well documented and convincing without getting in the way of the story. He always has an ambitious main character and a riveting plot. In addition, his style is polished and trenchant, and he has a good eye for detail. In a subtle, often cruelly humorous way, his characters are led to inevitable ruin. All this makes his novels real page-turners.

More Thomas Rosenboom

Thomas Rosenboom

Public Works

'Public Works' is written in a florid style, highly appropriate to the historical period of its setting: the late 19th century. Rosenboom‘s stately prose lends to his novels that slow-moving tempo so essential to their effectiveness, it is this tempo with which the plot unfolds which enables the reader to see disaster coming long before the novel ends, making you want to call out to the characters, to warn them that they are making a terrible mistake.

B. Carrot

A Way Out

Magda is a young teacher at a primary school in Warsaw. She is caring, kind, responsible and has her life in order. But then she gets pregnant. The pregnancy is unwanted, but abortion is illegal in Poland. The subject is so controversial in Poland’s conservative political climate that it’s hard to talk about, even with her friends and family. The only person she is able to confide in is her sister.

Joost de Vries

Higher Powers

It’s the early decades of the 20th century. James Welmoed is too British for his Dutch school – just like he’ll be too Dutch for London later in life. In 1930s Indonesia, he is an inscrutable member of the colonial establishment. No one knows what to make of him – including Elisabeth van Elsenburg, an eighteen-year-old so witty she could only be the brainchild of an author with a keen intellect and boundless dexterity. She’ll grow up to be a writer, but first she embarks on a love affair with Welmoed which, even though it will be cut short, will shape both their lives.

Daan Heerma van Voss

No Goodbye Today

‘Someone is already going to die in this chapter,’ the nameless narrator cautions on the very first page of No Goodbye Today. En route to his holiday destination, Oskar van Bohemen collapses at Schiphol Airport, which turns out to be a place of departure in more ways than one. From there, we follow his three grown children, who each had their own difficult relationship with him and experience his death in very different ways.

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