With eighteen books to his name, Maarten Asscher (b. 1957) is a prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction and a translator of poetry. An earlier novel and various of his novellas have been translated into German. A collection of his essays has appeared in the US. A House in England is his first book with De Bezige Bij.
Recent title – English material available:
De schaduw van een vriend (The Shadow of a Friend), 2022
Een huis in Engeland (A House in England), 2020
Excerpt from A House in England:
‘As a child, what baffled me was how my grandparents had made it through the war with their three children. All five of them had been interned in “transit camp” Westerbork. No one came back from there alive, did they? What also puzzled me was why Grandma Roosje and Oa had left Holland for good only after the war. Why not simply stay, once the danger had passed? Or, if one truly wanted to leave, why not move to England already in the late 1930s, as soon as you saw that things were going all wrong?’
‘In our bookcase at home is a photo book entitled The Yellow Star, showing the worst of the worst. How often, as a boy of eight or ten, when my parents were gone, did I leaf through it in secret. Gruesome, incomprehensible, fascinating. My grandparents and their three children – which means my father, too – were they actually there? My father has told me that they were at Westerbork, but I never get to hear much more than that.’