Marco Kunst


A magical novel full of ideas and thrilling adventures beyond time and space, culminating in a poetic ode to life and to love

It’s one of the oldest themes in literature: how to relate to death and to our own mortality. Writing another meaningful, let alone original, book on the subject is no easy task. However, Marco Kunst’s latest young-adult novel proves that it most certainly can be done.

The driving force behind this story is the eternal struggle between head and heart, religion and science, and the question, still relevant today, of how much good it does us to wish to control our lives and our time. The protagonists are the respected doctor Zacherias Kroonsz, who is obsessed with death, and his 17-year-old son, Wessel. We find ourselves in Amsterdam, on the eve of the Enlightenment, an age when there was significant tension between the desire for knowledge and the traditional concep­tion of God, when philosophers such as Descartes and Spinoza wrestled with the incomprehen­sible nature of time, the inevitability of death and the question of what comes after that.

Kunst writes vividly, presenting a convincing portrait of the era and effortlessly transporting the reader to 17th-­century Amsterdam, when the nearby presence of the sea could still be felt and the city was expanding so rapidly that it was straining at the seams.

The book takes a distinctly sinister turn when, grief-stricken after his wife’s death, Kroonsz uses lenses to build a “chrono­scope” that shows time as “a lattice of lifelines”, predicting the date of everyone’s death, including his own. Driven by his fear of death, Kroonsz manipulates time. He creates a hole in the fabric of reality – an ingenious notion – and transforms into something like Frankenstein’s monster.

Of course, that hole, “the Rip”, has to be closed. To do so, Kunst cleverly weaves together the storylines of Kroonsz and Wessel with those of Pink and Bor, two authentic young 21st-century characters, who bring a breath of fresh air to the story. Operating on the principle that “time is merely a tool of the imagination”, Kunst symbolically merges past and present in a dazzling, poetic final scene, singing the praises of the invisible coherence of the universe and the strength of love.

Kroonsz works: right from the beginning, Kunst opens wide the reader’s senses and you can feel the passion with which this story was written.

NRC Handelsblad

Marco Kunst gives everything he has in him as a writer: Kroonsz is a bold and ambitious book.

Jaap leest

Marco Kunst

Marco Kunst (b. 1966) – a philosopher by background – proved with his futuristic Gewist (2004) and fantastic Kroonsz (2014) that he does not shy away from telling big stories that reach through time and space. He refuses to be pinned down to any single genre or style. In 2013, he surprised his…

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Kroonsz (2014). Children's books, 342 pages.

Age 15+



Vijverlaan 48
NL - 3062 HL Rotterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 10 206 29 29
Fax: +31 10 414 15 60

[email protected]

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