Anne Eekhout


What shaped Mary Shelley, as a writer and a woman, and led her to create her masterpiece, Frankenstein?

Fact and fiction meet feminism and creation in this speculative exploration of the life and the psyche of Mary Shelley, who, by the age of twenty, had given birth and written the classic novel Frankenstein. Anne Eekhout investigates the power of creativity and the monsters within our minds.

Mary focuses on two important periods of this unconventional author and feminist’s life: 1816, the famous ‘Year without a Summer’, when Mary famously spent the summer by Lake Geneva with her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and others, and her stay in Dundee, Scotland, four years previously, where she developed a close relationship with Isabella Baxter, the daughter of the family she was living with. Eekhout depicts the intensity of this connection and the girls’ bond of attraction and repulsion with an older man, David Booth. The myths and legends of Dundee and the surrounding area suffuse the story, as does the region’s tradition of storytelling. Eekhout skilfully incorporates local tales and atmosphere, weaving in an encounter that leads Mary, four years later, to give birth to her story about the monster.

Eekhout’s Mary is a psychologically believable character with forceful emotions and a strong awareness of her role as a woman – and a mother – in a world of powerful men.

This book combines fantasy and reality with a focus on sexuality, creation and the origin of story. In her imaginative exploration of the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s monster, the author considers Mary Shelley as a creator of literature and life, while also showing how fragments and threads of myth and legend are woven into our imaginations, our urges and our art.

Mary is a universally valid account of a fascinating woman and an intriguing period of history, a time when legends about witches and magical creatures merged with scientific discovery.

Mary, as a multifaceted addition to Frankenstein and the story of its origins, truly brings Mary Shelley to life.

NRC Handelsblad

Mary is a perfectly balanced blend of genres. Eekhout daringly plays with genre elements that, in the hands of lesser authors, would become clichés. She, however, brings them powerfully to life.

Het Parool

She knows how to tell stories. Eekhout keeps up the tension, suggests a great deal, does not spell out too much. The book is addictive as well.

de Volkskrant

Not only does Eekhout give her Mary a remarkably convincing voice, she also paints a beautiful and balanced picture of the first decades of the nineteenth century.

Knack Focus


Anne Eekhout

Anne Eekhout (b. 1981) made her debut as a novelist in 2014, with Dogma (shortlisted for the Bronzen Uil and longlisted for the AKO Literatuurprijs). Her novel Op een nacht (nominated for the BNG Literatuurprijs) came out in 2016, and she won the Beste Boek voor Jongeren prize for Nicolas en de

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Mary (2021). Fiction, 382 pages.
Words: 87,848

Sample translation available

Sample translation

English (PDF document)


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