Ernest van der Kwast / Ernest van der Kwast – Ilyas

Ernest van der Kwast – Ilyas

Ernest van der Kwast – Ilyas

Rights sold

  • btb-Verlag (Germany)
  • Fraktura (Croatia)

Read our sample translation of Ilyas

About the book

A new Rembrandt has been discovered, a portrait of an unknown young man. Conservator Peter Lindke disagrees with the ascription. After a television appearance in which he, among other things, declares that the man’s collar could never have been painted by Rembrandt, he is fired. At home he not only finds out that his marriage is in a crisis, but also that his cleaning lady has major problems. He takes her under his wing and manages to get her life back on track. However, when she shows up with Ilyas, a boy with the face of a tortured poet and thirty thousand euros in debt, Peter Lindke hesitates. Should he also help out Ilyas – and will that give his life meaning? Or is he better off saving his marriage?

‘Van der Kwast is a master at writing delectable scenes that always hurt a little as well. In Ilyas, he surpasses himself in that respect. (…) The joy of writing is palpable and never becomes bland because it continues grating beneath your skin.’ – TROUW

‘Ilyas is a daring, at times confronting book. Van der Kwast makes clear how the underprivileged and defenceless are the ones who are hit hardest in this equally diabolical and divided system that we call society.’ – HET PAROOL

‘Someone looking for authenticity, for home, that’s what connects the classical Iliad with this treacherously nimble Ilyas, a quest for individuality and authenticity.’ – DE LIMBURGER

‘Light as a feather, [Ilyas] dances back and forth between serious subjects and hilarious moments.’ – HET FRIESCH DAGBLAD

‘In effortless scenes the author dismantles the idea of a socially engineered society layer by layer, while in the story he nevertheless keeps searching for an answer.’ – HET FRIESCH DAGBLAD

‘A book full of humour and hope’ – HERMAN KOCH, AUTHOR

Ernest van der Kwast (b. 1981) was born in Mumbai, India. He made his breakthrough with the novel Mama Tandoori (2010), which became a bestseller with more than 100,000 copies sold. His novella Giovanna’s Navel (2012) was followed by The Ice-Cream Makers (2015), a novel that has been translated in seven countries. The book also won the Dioraphte Youth Literature Prize. From 2016 to 2017, Van der Kwast was the Writer in Residence at the VU University in Amsterdam. In that capacity he interviewed refugee students about their motives for living in the Netherlands, which resulted in the book Your Future Is My Future (2017).

© Stephan Vanfleteren

Additional book information

  • Novel
  • ISBN 9789403160801
  • Number of pages: 272
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: €22,99
  • English sample available