Harm de Jonge en Wouter Tulp

Josja Pruis

Harm de Jonge excels in stories about special boyhood friendships. With Josja Pruis he has surpassed himself in the genre. This time the story is set in an insignificant seaport town in the year 1956. The central figure is Homme Prins, who has experienced little more exciting than being secretly in love with the beautiful Ada Breugel, as is his friend Lubbe.

But then one day a new boy appears at school. Josja Pruis wears an army jacket with shiny buttons. He tells Homme and Lubbe that he’s actually a Siamese twin. ‘You know: two people who have only two legs between the two of them or something like that.’ With Josja you can’t see anything of the Siamese twin on the outside, because it’s in his head. There’s a partition dividing his brain in two. One half is called Josja, the other half Kai. This starts Homme thinking. With Lubbe, he talks about football and about Ada. With Josja, it’s suddenly about things he’s never heard of before.

Everything changes with Josja’s arrival; events in this sleepy little town suddenly gain momentum. A story on three levels develops in short chapters: the account of Josja’s stay in this little town, the notes Josja makes in his redmarbled book, and the narrative present, in which Homme and Ada look back on events – because when things take a dramatic turn Josja disappears just as quickly as he arrived.

Harm de Jonge succeeds in capturing in few words a story about friendship, being in love, insanity and death, without the tale ever becoming too heavy. Josja Pruis is really tense in parts, but first and foremost it is a book that is enchanting and melancholy. A story that stays in your memory for a long time with a strangely beautiful resonance.

  • Woutertje Pieterse Prize 2007

A wonderful story about friendship, burgeoning love, insanity, violence, death and the shadow of the past. (…) With Josja Pruis, De Jonge has perhaps produced his best book ever.

Dagblad van het Noorden

De Jonge carefully develops the wonderful theme of two boys in one body. Josja Pruis is an impressive character.

NRC Handelsblad

A beautiful and excitingly told story with a philosophical touch.

Friesch Dagblad

Harm de Jonge

Harm de Jonge (b. 1940) is an author who occupies a special place in Dutch children’s literature. He grew up during WWII and the post-war reconstruction as the son of a barge captain who transported coal. He went on to work as a Dutch teacher and taught and wrote about other writers for years.…

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Josja Pruis (2006). Kinder- en jeugdboeken, 136 pagina's.


Wouter Tulp

Age: 10+


English (PDF document)


Van Goor

Postbus 23202
NL - 1100 DS Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 236 42 00

[email protected]

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Literair agent

Geri Brandjes

Chet Bakerstraat 20
1066 GK Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 615 34 73
[email protected]

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