Rik Launspach

Man girl dead

A epic love story against the backdrop of the Afganistan war

After his much-praised and filmed epic on the Flood Disaster, 1953, Rik Launspach has come up with a literary pageturner in the tradition of John LeCarré’s The Constant Gardener – a novel about an intense love affair and the eternal combat between men and women, against the background of one of the greatest conflicts of our time.

Amadeus de Ru is a brilliant student of linguistics in the Amsterdam of the 1990s. He supports himself by dealing in drugs on a small scale, meanwhile dreaming of the two most beautiful girls in the city: Tatja and Puck. To his great surprise – and Puck’s displeasure – he manages to make a conquest of Tatja. The idyll is disrupted when Tatja goes off to study in Venice and in order to stay close to her even so, Deus enrols on a course of Dari, one of the languages of her native country. He then decides on an impulse to surprise Tatja in Venice, and is witness to her infidelity.

In an attempt at reconciliation, they all three decide to go to Turkey. There fate strikes: during a drunken drive Deus loses the love of his life in a car crash. Tormented by feelings of guilt, he leaves for Afghanistan, where he is taken care of by Daoud, a simple man scrabbling to make a living with his family. Surrounded by the barren mountains and ancient traditions he works on his ideas concerning a new language, using figures that will remove all interference in human communication. Once again, however, a woman ensures that he has to flee.

Fifteen years later, Deus is back in Afghanistan as an interpreter, but very quickly the army command discover Deus’ revolutionary code, which seems a powerful weapon in the fight against the Taliban. Not only does he unintentionally put the Americans on the track of a rigorous way out of the impasse of the war but he also makes a discov- ery that places his time with Tatja in a different light. When he wants to dash off to the Netherlands to get at the truth, he is once more confronted with his former friends, with just one difference: this time he is the enemy.

Launspach is at his best when evoking the purely masculine world populated by combatants, a world where it always seems to be night and every other minute a rocket is fired, a world crammed with container camps full of equipment, in desolate regions.

De Volkskrant

A whirlwind novel.

Het Parool

Rik Launspach

Rik Launspach (b. 1958) is an actor, director and writer. He took part in such TV classics as On Second Thoughts (based on J.J. Voskuil’s novel) and Old Money, and in 1993 he won the Golden Calf award for his role in Oeroeg, based on the book by Hella S. Haasse. Since the late 1990s, Launspach…

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Man meisje dood (2011). Fiction, 400 pages.


De Bezige Bij

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