Recent submissions / W.F. Hermans – The Safe House

W.F. Hermans – The Safe House

W.F. Hermans – The Safe House

Rights sold

  • Archipelago Books (USA); Pushkin Press (UK)

About the book

A Dutch soldier in a muddy no man’s land moves into a luxurious villa. Before long a German officer turns up at the door. He has come to requisition the house and assumes that his enemy is its rightful owner. A bizarre situation results, with a disturbing ending.

The Safe House, which with its cynical tone encountered a great deal of hostility when it was first published, has become a classic of Dutch literature from the period after the Second World War.

‘Sometimes I didn’t even understand the orders. Not that the officers cared. Three days before, our platoon had been shelled by our own side. A special Russian detachment had also arrived, selected five men and taken them behind the barn we were bivouacked in to shoot them. One tried to run away. The next morning he was lying face-up on the road. Nobody dared move him out of the way. We marched over him, putting our feet down on top of him to keep in step. I was bringing up the rear of the column. By the time I reached him his head was already cracked and unrecognizable. I couldn’t tell who it was. I must have seen him every day for three months. But I wouldn’t have known his name.’

A literary tour de force that contains the quintessence of Hermans’s work. Inhabitants of a sadistic universe full of malice and misunderstanding, a place that allows no escape, at least not in this disturbing book. -
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Unsurpassed in its stylistic precision, unsettling in its language, dialogue, atmosphere, humour. - Harry Mulisch, Author

Author

Willem Frederik Hermans (1921-1995) is one of the greatest post-war Dutch authors. He left a huge and varied body of work. Before devoting his entire life to writing, Hermans had been teaching Physical Geography at the University of Groningen for many years. He had already started writing and publishing in magazines at a young age. His polemic and provocative style led to a court case as early as 1952. In addition to his novels he published over the years short stories, essays, poetry, theatre plays and translations. His work has been translated into many languages to international acclaim. The Darkroom of Damocles was put on stage in 2015. In February 2016 the movie to the novel Beyond Sleep, a Dutch-Norwegian co-production, has been launched in the Dutch cinema’s to much acclaim. The producer is Key Film, the director is Boudewijn Koole.

© Jutka Rona

Additional book information

  • Novella
  • ISBN 9789023478416
  • Number of pages: 78
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: € 10,00
  • English translation available