Jeroen Theunissen / Jeroen Theunissen – I = Cartographer

Jeroen Theunissen – I = Cartographer

Jeroen Theunissen – I = Cartographer

About the book

When Jeroen Theunissen was about twenty years old, he found a map of Europe in a travel shop. It was covered with thick purple lines marking long-distance hiking trails. Years later, when the author encountered a bout of melancholy, panic attacks and depression and felt trapped in an unhappy marriage, he left behind everyone and everything – including his two children – to start a six-month walk from South-West Ireland to the Bosporus. In so doing, Jeroen Theunissen was following in the tracks of the British Patrick Leigh Fermor, who had travelled by foot in 1933 from the Hook of Holland in the Netherlands to Constantinople, straight through a Europe at a pivotal moment ­– Adolf Hitler had recently assumed power. The Europe through which Theunissen walked faces numerous problems, including climate change, nationalism and a refugee crisis.

I = Cartographer is many books in one. It’s an account of a hiking journey. An attempt to grasp our rapidly changing world. The story of a man who runs away from responsibilities, only to return to try to create a home for his children.


Excerpt from I = Cartographer:

Looking at the hills, the sheep and a few rundown cottages, I felt the same excitement as those who turn their backs on the world of career planning, efficiency, entrepreneurship, return on investment, in search of solitude, futility, inertia and romance, fields of clouds, musings, and constellations, but I also felt the pain and embarrassment of those who run away.


JEROEN THEUNISSEN (b. 1977) has published collections of poetry and several prose works. His 2013 picaresque family novel, The Roundabout Ways, was critically acclaimed and shortlisted for the Libris Literature Prize. It was followed in 2014 by Innocence. In 2016, he won the Herman de Coninck Readers’ Prize for Here’s Where You Live. In addition, his novel Your Skin was longlisted for the 2018 Bookspot Literature Prize.

© Stephan Vanfleteren

Additional book information

  • Non-fiction
  • ISBN 9789403163611
  • Number of pages: 432
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: €24,99