Gerwin van der Werf

De droomfabriek

A gripping story about a transgressive relationship and the crisis in modern education

Although she doesn’t have a teaching qualification, Josie Cruquius is hired by a struggling school in a disadvantaged neighbourhood. The job is more of a challenge than she anticipated: Class 3A, in particular, turns out to be an extremely disrespectful and unruly bunch. But before long one student in particular begins to draw her attention.

Class 3A is a nightmare. No one ever brings their textbooks and everything the teacher says is met with mocking laughter. Josie’s predecessor was bullied out of the job, and Josie feels at a loss about how to deal with what is, by and large, a completely disengaged student body. She makes a list of key principles to stick to: stay calm, don’t let yourself be intimidated, focus on the kids who are interested in learning. She has become a teacher on her grandfather’s recommendation; he was a teacher too, and ever since he passed away she’s been living in his old house in a ritzy part of town.

One of the problem children is the beautiful, rebellious Carmen. She’s late all the time, constantly glued to her phone and never bothers to do her homework. She has a difficult home life, with an absent father and an alcoholic mother but does, however, have more than 60,000 followers on Instagram and is banking on a career as an influencer.

With those kinds of prospects, why bother to pay attention in school? One day Josie loses her temper and ends up insulting Carmen. She feels guilty afterwards and decides to pay Carmen a visit at home to apologise. Once she sees the circumstances in which Carmen is growing up, her perspective changes and when Carmen asks if Josie would be willing to give her some after-school tutoring at her own house, Josie agrees.

Gradually student and teacher grow closer. Carmen does Josie’s make-up; the two of them go shopping together; they smoke pot together. Because of what’s going on at home Carmen even starts staying over at Josie’s house, which ends up leading to an unexpected romantic encounter. After that the situation quickly gets out of hand, especially once one of Carmen’s classmates, a pimp who targets teenage girls, gets involved.

Gerwin van der Werf impressed critics with his suspenseful novel The Hitchhiker, a hallucinatory story about a marital crisis during a holiday in Iceland. With this new novel, he shows us that he writes stories that are close to the zeitgeist, with darkly compelling plots.

The Dream Factory can be read on a number of different levels. In any case, you’ll find it’s a marvelous book.’

NRC Handelsblad

‘An intriguing novel without any simple answers.’

Leeuwarder Courant

‘This is that rare beast: a work of literary fiction that will also satisfy the lovers of thrillers and crime fiction.’

GLAM Adelaide

Gerwin van der Werf

Gerwin van der Werf (b. 1969) made his debut in 2010 with the novel Gewapende man (Armed Man), which newspaper NRC Handels- blad named one of the best books of the year. It was followed in 2011 by his second novel Wild, which was longlisted for the Libris Literature Prize, Luchtvissers (Sky…

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De droomfabriek (2022). Fictie, 288 pagina's.
Aantal woorden: 73.232


English (PDF document)


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