Vonne van der Meer

The Night Boat

Follow-up to highly successful novel: new stories from the island of Vlieland

In her successful novel Eilandgasten (Island Guests), Vonne van der Meer had her characters arriving at a holiday home on the Dutch island of Vlieland, where their stories were set: six different stories, but all with a common location. The idea of telling the stories of a cottage’s guests is too good to be exhausted after just one book. After all, an island is an island; you cannot leave just like that.

Most of the tenants are new, one or two are familiar from the first book. The connecting factor is, again, the cleaning lady, a character who shows great concern for everything to do with the cottage and its temporary residents. The guest book and everything written in it again forms an important link between the stories, because in it the guests read about each other. The stay in Duinroos must evoke something in the guests from which a story about human relationships can emerge. All the stories move towards a climax, a catharsis, new insight, but something dramatic has to occur as well. Vonne van der Meer excels at directing the subtle and balanced narration of the drama. Her style is clear but evocative. The vivid details bring the world of the stories to life.

The formula of Eilandgasten has been used again in De avondboot. ‘It was as if a new leaf had been turned within him, a far too closely written page full of crossings-out, additions, angry scrawl and ink blots.’ In some ways the book can be seen as a sequel, in others it is an entirely new novel, with fresh issues and fresh characters. With new conflicts and reconciliations, new insight and chastening.

Vonne van der Meer’s stories are about the good in human nature. This is the moral of her work. It goes deep and is convincing in more ways than one. This is why her Vlieland book of tides deserves a place at the heart of contemporary literature.


Van der Meer writes with enviable precision, without wasting words. Her wonderful style makes De avondboot a delight to read.

Vrij Nederland

Her style is as clear as a mountain stream, yet suggestive. More than anything, it is her eye for detail that makes the world of her stories so significant.


Beautiful, elegant structure.

de Volkskrant


Vonne van der Meer

Vonne van der Meer (b. 1952) has written fourteen novels, several short story collections, novellas and plays. The novel Eilandgasten (Island Guests, 1999) and the two sequels De avondboot (The Evening Boat, 2001) and Laatste seizoen (Last Season, 2002) introduced her to a large audience. She has…

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De avondboot (2001). Fiction, 203 pages.
Copies sold: 50,000



Keizersgracht 205
NL - 1016 DS Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 535 25 35
Fax: +31 20 535 25 49

[email protected]

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