Jan Arends (1925-1974) wrote a small body of work that consists of both prose and poetry. Both in his prose and his poems he combines a suffocating, desolate atmosphere with unique wit. On the day that his collection Lunchpauzegedichten (Lunchtime Poems) appeared, he committed suicide by jumping out of the window of his room in Amsterdam. Arends suffered from bouts of severe depression for much of his life and with Keefman (1972) he wrote one of his overwhelming testimonies about it. When he was not in mental institutions Arends was by turns an author, a copywriter for advertising bureaus and a house servant to older women.
Press on Keefman:
It is not too much of a stretch to call him 'mad', and even 'genius' is perfectly appropriate for a change. – HP / De Tijd
The stories are raw, angry, intelligent, and they allow us to empathize with people who at one and the same time ask for help and slap away every outstretched hand. [...] This prose hurts, it moves, and most importantly: it makes a lasting impression. – author Thomas Heerma van Voss, De Correspondent