Esther Gerritsen

The Comforter

A novel on faith, meaning and escaping responsibility

Completely against the established rules a new guest at the monastery is received by Jacob, the concierge. Initially Jacob acts reluctant, as he is aware of the hierarchy within the order. But gradually a relationship develops between the devout concierge and his guest, who has a crime weighing on his conscience.

Jacob starts to lose himself in the attention he receives and is willing to go far to preserve the friendship.

Esther Gerritsen tells a story that takes place during Easter and in which Christ’s Way of the Cross plays an important role. In her well-known keen manner, she dissects relationships between people, the expectations and interests involved, whilst questioning the self-evidence of matters.

With The Comforter, Gerritsen takes her oeuvre to the next level.

NRC Handelsblad

Gerritsen moves the reader with her refined, intelligent descriptions of human failure.

De Volkskrant

I remember sanding the doorposts, feeling the pain in my muscles, my fingers were shredded. I remember seeing the wood get paler and smoother and being certain that I was happy. Seeing what I was working on improve beneath my hands; the wood and me, that was enough. I was content with my defective body that burns and wears out and yet is good enough for the job. It does what it is supposed to do. I wanted for nothing.

I sat down and surveyed my work. The silence had a salutary influence and I suddenly felt the desire to sit here forever. I smiled because I’d just been thinking about not wanting anything. Each peaceful moment evokes the impatient desire to extend it. Time and again: and that’s how it should be.

At that moment, Henry Loman came in. At first glance a tired, middle-aged man who was overweight. Sometimes I try to recall seeing him for the first time, my quick, unflattering assessment. I barely manage.

Esther Gerritsen

Since her 2000 debut with Bevoorrecht bewustzijn (Privileged Consciousness), Esther Gerritsen (b. 1972) has been considered one of the best authors in the Netherlands. In 2005 she was awarded the Dif/BGN prize for her second novel Normale dagen (Ordinary Days, 2005). Superduif (Superpigeon, 2010)…

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De trooster (2018). Fiction, 224 pages.
Copies sold: 15,000

English sample available


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