by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem, translated by Kristen Gehrman
Levine Querido, 368 p., coming February 22, 2022!
Original title: IJzerkop, Querido
Four months into the marriage, she can slip out of their bed in the middle of the night, and she can put on his clothes. She can look in the mirror and like what she sees. She can sneak out of the house before dawn and visit the baker’s scrawny son, who has just been drafted into the army, and offer to take his place. Vive l’Empereur!
Hot on Stance’s tail all the while is her younger brother Pieter, determined to bring Stance back home to Ghent where she belongs. (The battlefield is no place for a young lady, after all.)
Ironhead, or, Once A Young Lady is the riotous and powerful story of a fierce renegade, and the silly men who try to bring her down.
« Rowdy and contemplative in turn, this celebration of historical gender nonconformity is as compelling as it is fun. » -Publisher’s Weekly
« A perfect choice for fans of adventure tales with a prominent feminist streak. »—Booklist Online
« Vivid and brutal—but not without a sliver of hope. » –Kirkus Reviews
« Thrilling, often hilarious, and sometimes tear-jerking, this romp of a story is reminiscent of classic adventure tales such as The Three Musketeers. » – BCCB
by Lize Spit, translated by Kristen Gehrman
Picador / Pan Macmillan, 416 p, May 21, 2021
Original title: Het smelt, Das Mag
Challenging and disturbing, The Melting is an incredibly cruel fable about friendship and adolescence . . . Spit knows no fear. It is we, the readers, that are left trembling.’ – Leïla Slimani, author of Lullaby
Eva can trace the route to Pim’s farm with her eyes closed, even though she has not been to Bovenmeer for many years. There she grew up among the rape fields and dairy farms. There lies also the root of all their grief.
Eva was one of three children born in her small Flemish town in 1988. Growing up alongside the boys Laurens and Pim, Eva sought refuge from her loveless family life in the company of her two friends. But with adolescence came a growing awareness of their burgeoning sexuality. Driven by their newly found desires, the children begin a game that will have serious and violent consequences for them all.
Thirteen years after the summer she’s tried for so long to forget, Eva is returning to her village. Everything fell apart that summer, but this time she’ll be prepared. She has a large block of ice in her car boot and she’s ready to settle the score.
Part thriller, part coming-of-age novel, The Melting is an extraordinary and unsettling debut from Lize Spit, a reckoning with adolescent cruelty and the scars it leaves.
by Dola de Jong, translated by Kristen Gehrman
Transit Books, 140 p. May 19, 2020
Longlisted for the Vondel Translation Prize, 2021
Original title: De thuiswacht, Cossee
When Bea meets Erica at the home of a mutual friend, this chance encounter sets the stage for the story of two women torn between desire and taboo in the years leading up to the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. Erica, a reckless young journalist, pursues passionate but abusive affairs with different women. Bea, a reserved secretary, grows increasingly obsessed with Erica, yet denial and shame keep her from recognizing her attraction. Only Bea’s discovery that Erica is half-Jewish and a member of the Dutch resistance—and thus in danger—brings her closer to accepting her own feelings.
First published in 1954 in the Netherlands, Dola de Jong’s The Tree and the Vine was a groundbreaking work in its time for its frank and sensitive depiction of the love between two women, now available in a new translation.
« Whereas Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt notoriously provided a lesbian romance with a happy, or at least hopeful, ending, The Tree and the Vine accomplishes something bolder: It normalizes its characters’ unhappinesses, showing them to be just as complicated as anyone else’s. »—Lidija Haas, The New York Times
“Silence lies at the heart of Dola de Jong’s The Tree and the Vine . . . A sharp and erotic domestic drama, sometimes comic yet darkened by the looming Nazi occupation.”—Julian Lucas, Harper’s Magazine
« A careful and muted lament about the sorrow of restraint. »—Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
“De Jong depicts the darker, dangerous side of the world of same-sex desire, and the way it’s a source of torment—physical and psychological—for those who exist within it.”—Lucy Scholes, The Paris Review
“An equally spicy, sensitive, and devastating portrait of two young women navigating their taboo desires for one another against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam.”—GQ
“Bea’s inability to face, let alone name, her true sexual desires drives this spare, elegant, and ultimately haunting novel . . . Gehrman’s beautiful new translation returns the book to the spotlight where it belongs . . . a jewel hidden in plain sight. »—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
by Alexander Münninghoff, translated by Kristen Gehrman
Amazon Crossing, 293 p., Aug 1, 2020
Original title: De stamhouder: een familiekroniek, Prometheus
A prize-winning Dutch journalist’s unsparing memoir of growing up amid the excesses, triumphs, and devastation of post–World War II Europe.
What can a son say upon discovering that his father wore a Nazi uniform? Reporter Alexander Münninghoff was only four when he found this mortifying relic from his father’s recent past in his attic. This shameful memento came to symbolize not only his father’s tragically misguided allegiance but also a shattered marriage and ultimately the unconscionable separation of a mother and son.
In this revelatory memoir, the author confronts his parents’ complex past as he reconstructs the fortunes and disillusions of an entire family upheaved during the changes of twentieth-century Europe. The Münninghoffs were driven by greed, rebellion, and rage. An embattled dynasty, they were torn between the right and the wrong side of history. Their saga haunted Alexander’s life for the next seventy years.
Only in reconciling with them can this man find the courage to move forward as son and heir to the startling legacy of a flawed yet grand tradition.
More than 6,000 reader reviews on Amazon!
by Annejet van der Zijl, translated by Kristen Gehrman
Amazon Crossing, 272 p, August 1, 2019
Original title: Sonny Boy, Querido
When they fell in love in 1928, Rika and Waldemar could not have been more different. She was a thirty-seven-year-old Dutch-born mother, estranged from her husband. He was her immigrant boarder, not yet twenty, and a wealthy Surinamese descendant of slaves. The child they have together, brown skinned and blue eyed, brings the couple great joy yet raises some eyebrows. Until the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands explodes their promising life.
What unfolds is more than the astonishing story of a love that prevailed over convention. It’s also the quest of a young boy. Through the cruelty of World War II, he will fight for a connection between his father’s South American birthplace and his mother’s European traditions. Lost and displaced for much of his life, but with a legacy of resilience in his blood, he will struggle to find his place in the world.
Moving deftly between personal experience and the devastating machinations of war, The Boy Between Worlds is an unforgettable journey of hope, love, and courage in the face of humanity’s darkest hour.