Gauke Andriesse

The Hands of Kalman Teller

Golden Noose 2011

A gripping story has a plot with a beginning and an end. That is a staple ingredient of practically all thrillers. The winner of Golden Noose 2011 has had the courage to diverge from this fixed pattern. Gauke Andriesse’s The Hands of Kalman Teller has no gruesome beginning or furious finale where all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle finally fall into place. Andriesse’s thriller thereby acquires an added literary value, which led to him winning the prize.

The book tells the story of a medical malpractice of which Mira Roes is the victim. Together with her husband, she tries to get justice for herself, but the specialist has friends in the system everywhere, and the married couple run into a brick wall. An old Jewish friend, Kalman Teller, comes to their aid and hires the private detective Jager Havix. But an important witness is murdered before he can talk, and Havik’s trail seems to run cold.

Gauke Andriesse’s fluid style, his rich language and his character portrayal make The Hands of Kalman Keller a surprising book. The reader’s sympathy is unreservedly with the married couple that is so unjustly brushed aside by the establishment. With apparent nonchalance, judges, lawyers, hospital managers and doctors walk roughshod over the victims and are unaffected by the pain that they cause others.

Only very gradually does the writer intimate why it is that the immensely wealthy Kalman Teller acts on their behalf and pushes Havix to keep on with his investigation. And what role the hands mentioned in the title actually play. His past is almost impossible to describe, and Andriesse is also good at putting this into words. The Hands of Kalman Teller is, then, worthy in all respects of the label a literary thriller.

In a genre where loose ends are usually neatly tied together, Andriesse simply dares to leave some of the ends untied. And they prey on you for a long time afterwards.

Jury report of the Golden Noose

A splendid plot. A successful book, also because of the fine, suprising ending.

Vrij Nederland


Gauke Andriesse

Gauke Andriesse (b. 1959) lived and worked for ten years as a developmental economist in the Andes mountains of Ecuador. Since 2000, he has been working for Cordaid. He regularly travels to Africa to support organisations that offer small loans to small-scale entrepreneurs.

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De handen van Kalman Teller (2010)., 302 pages.

Themes: crime WWII



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