Anna Enquist has an innate talent for telling stories; they flow as naturally and spontaneously as a mountain stream. Her refined psychological insights clothe her characters in flesh and blood, and her musicality is remarkable, with never a false note.
The Masterpiece is based on Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, Enquist’s modern setting adding an extra dimension to the tale. Johan Steenkamer, a painter driven by ambition and lust, represents Don Juan; always the centre of attention, he aims to be the ultimate focus of everyone’s thoughts, but he is incapable of true love, friendship and intimacy. When his daughter dies, his wife mourns, while he can only lose himself in artistic and erotic adventures until he is utterly isolated, even from his wife. Yet he is able to demonstrate the astonishing power of art by brilliantly capturing his wife’s grief in a portrait he paints of her; he can give himself to art but not to people. Enquist’s portrayal of his tragic position is utterly convincing.
Enquist is one of the Netherlands’ best loved and most read authors. Over the years she has also built up a reputation abroad.