Arjen van Veelen / Arjen van Veelen – Notes on the Relocation of Obelisks

Arjen van Veelen – Notes on the Relocation of Obelisks

Arjen van Veelen – Notes on the Relocation of Obelisks

About the book

A debut novel about Alexander the Great, modern loneliness and the loss of a friend
A young writer travels to Alexandria with his deceased friend Tomas’s books in his suitcase. He wants to immortalize the books by putting them on the shelves of the famous Ancient Library of Alexandria. At the same time he goes in search of the tomb of Alexander Great, whose biography he has wanted to write for some time. During his wanderings through the city, all kinds of memories come to him of Tomas, whose ghost walks its streets.


In this essayistic novel Arjen van Veelen looks for ways to give meaning to life and death. Against the background of an ancient city, the Flemish countryside and the poor neighbourhoods of America he creates a personal monument to a lost friendship.

From the book:

‘There's a moment of silence during a flight, right after the climb, when all the wing flaps have neatly folded back and the engines switch to much lower power. Compared to the earlier roar and vibration the soft growl feels for a brief moment like gliding; the thrust in your back suddenly drops away. The first time I flew I thought the engines had failed: stall, the plummet to earth was about to begin. I squeezed my hands white.’


Arjen van Veelen (b. 1980) writes essays, travel stories and features for dailies including NRC Handelsblad and De Correspondent. His previous books include On Restlessness (longlisted for the AKO Literature Prize) and And Here a Picture of a Cat (winner of the Jan Hanlo Essay Prize). He studied classical languages and journalism before working as a foreign correspondent in the United States and as a teacher of Greek and Latin.


© Tessa Posthuma de Boer

Additional book information

  • Novel
  • ISBN 9789023448600
  • Number of pages: 272
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: € 19,99