Allard Schröder / Allard Schröder – The Hydrographer

Allard Schröder – The Hydrographer

Allard Schröder – The Hydrographer

Rights sold

  • mare Verlag (Germany)
  • Iperborea (Italy)
  • Phébus (France)
  • Aschehoug (Norway)


About the book

The Hydrographer is the story of Franz von Karsch, who set sail from Hamburg for Valparaiso in the spring of 1905, to uncover the scientific basis for the movement of marine waters. But all his serious pretexts cannot disguise the fact that his life has reached an impasse from which excape lies on neither land nor sea. Even his fellow passengers, the prep-school teacher Totleben and the saltpeter merchant Moser, can do little to distract him. Then fate takes a surprising twist. Von Karsch loses interest in his study and becomes entangled in a web of intrigue. In this melancholy but also unrelenting narrative, Schröder shows himself to be a sensitive stylist and a skillful teller of tales.

Each of his carefully formulated sentences is charged with meaning, is never unambiguous. It has frequently been observed how dazzlingly Schröder describes weather conditions–a talent that he displays amply in The Hydrographer–but at least as overwhelming are the delicate nuances with which he depicts the emotional states of his main character. In so doing he produces a tour de force which from the insignificant life story of a hydrographer creates literature as unfathomable as the sea. - NRC Handelsblad


Allard Schröder (b. 1946) has written many novels, short stories and radio plays since the 1980s. His breakthrough came with The Hydrographer, an astonishing novel in which the laws of the sea are reflected in those of love. It won the author the AKO Literature Prize in 2002 and was translated  into several languages. In September it will be published  in Germany by Mare Verlag. Schröder has since written further novels and a volume of poetry. The novel The Dead Arm (2013) was shortlisted for the AKO Literature Prize.

© Stephan Vanfleteren

Additional book information

  • novel
  • ISBN 9789023416647
  • Number of pages: 204
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: € 12,50