Nhung Dam / Nhung Dam – A Thousand Fathers

Nhung Dam – A Thousand Fathers

Nhung Dam – A Thousand Fathers

Rights sold

  • Ullstein Bucheverlag (Germany)


Read our sample translation of A Thousand Fathers


About the book

In an ice-cold village on the edge of the world a Vietnamese family tries to survive. As refugees they were fished out of the water by a northern cargo ship and placed in a country they knew nothing of. The father departs one day leaving no message. The rest of the family is abandoned to the whims of the Chinese mafia. The eleven-year-old daughter becomes trapped between her mother’s complete despair and the insanity of her unfamiliar surroundings. She finds herself looking at a world in which an excess of imagination is punished. Residents meet every week in the Bald Billiards café to decide who the village belongs to, the sea takes fierce bites out of the land and snow falls endlessly from the heavens. She finds a glimmer of friendship with a man who lives on a dilapidated little boat and asks her a thousand questions.

Her only weapon for finding her father in a world full of whores, toothpaste salesmen and gambling addicts is her rich imagination.

'A Thousand Fathers' pre-empted by Ullstein Verlag (Germany):

I had to have this book for our list. Situated on the threshold between magical worlds and a harsh reality, this wonderful novel pulls you right in from the very first page. A brilliant and absolutely captivating debut. – HEIDE KLOTH, SENIOR EDITOR AT ULLSTEIN

With her debut novel A Thousand Fathers, Nhung Dam (1984) has written a book that surprises, confuses and enthrals. A book of “un-Dutch” allure. – HAARLEMS DAGBLAD

With an absurdist imagination reminiscent of Asian film and literature, Dam writes about the difficulties facing immigrants in a parochial Dutch setting (Beiahêm is undoubtedly an allusion to Beijum, a neighbourhood in the city of Groningen). That contrast between the swampy peat soil and the magical realism throughout is an effective literary medium for depicting the alienation experienced by a refugee family. Dam and her liberal pen make for a welcome new voice in Dutch literature. – DE VOLKSKRANT


After studying psychology, Nhung Dam (b. 1984) opted to attend the Amsterdam School for Drama and Contemporary Music Theatre, graduating in 2011. She has written a variety of plays which have been translated into German and English. She also works as an actress and theatre maker. A Thousand Fathers is her debut novel.

© Stephan Vanfletere

Additional book information

  • Novel
  • ISBN 9789023498605
  • Number of pages: 368
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: €19,99
  • English sample available