Primordial Soup

'Primordial Soup' describes the life of a young Dutch woman who lives in a tiny hamlet in the French countryside with her boyfriend and who has just become a mother. Without any clear story arc, we see her taking her first steps as a mother – starting with labour. It’s immediately apparent that 'Primordial Soup' is a raw and wholly unique story.

Fiction
Original title
Oersoep
Author
Bregje Hofstede

The letters literally fall off the page. But it’s not just the book’s form that is unique. Hofstede impressively articulates how emotions like pain, wonderment and arousal coalesce as the protagonist gives birth: ‘Can you take it, he asked. Fuck, you can take a lot. Fucked me until I bled. And this? Can you take this too, my uterus asks, this payback for all the years of pounding?’

This opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the book, in which the protagonist is constantly looking for the balance between freedom and being at home. As part of this search, she writes a letter to her first love, Hade, who didn’t return her feelings and died young. She goes on group ayahuasca retreats led by a shaman. And she struggles with her life as a writer in rural France, where nothing ever happens. She yearns for the very same ‘big city’ they moved there to escape. Primordial Soup brims with a sense of urgency. For the reader, it’s even uncomfortable at times being so close to the protagonist. An intense, visceral, taboo-shattering book about our primal urges.

There are no holds barred in this inspired, transgressive, trippy novel by Bregje Hofstede.

NRC

Publishing details
Oersoep (2023)
248 pages
42,000 words
Sample translation available

Publisher
Das Mag
Daniël van der Meer
Daniel@dasmag.nl

Rights
Marianne Schönbach Literary Agency
Marisca van der Mark
m.vandermark@schonbach.nl

Translated titles
De hemel boven Parijs [The Sky Above Paris]: Denmark (Tiderne Skifter, 2016), Egypt (Dar Oktob, 2019), Germany (C.H. Beck, 2015). Drift [Drive]: Germany (Oktaven, 2020). De herontdekking van het lichaam [The Rediscovery of the Body – On Burnout]: Germany (Oktaven, 2016). Slaap vatten [In Search of Sleep]: Bulgaria (Colibri, 2023), Germany (Oktaven, 2022), Poland (Linia, 2023), US (Greystone Books, 2023)

Bregje Hofstede spits, screams and pushes onto the pages of Primordial Soup.

Het Parool

In this breathtaking novel full of psychedelic trips, Bregje Hofstede slews between control and surrender.

Trouw
Bregje Hofstede
Bregje Hofstede (b. 1988) is more than an up-and-coming talent at this point in her career. In 2019, her second novel, 'Drift' (Drive), was shortlisted for the Libris Literature Prize.
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