Stefan Hertmans / Stefan Hertmans – The Ascent

Stefan Hertmans – The Ascent

Stefan Hertmans – The Ascent

Rights sold

  • Harvill Secker (UK)
  • Pantheon (USA/Canada)
  • Text (ANZ)
  • Gallimard (France)
  • Marsilio (Italy)
  • Diogenes (Switzerland)
  • Fraktura (Croatia)
  • Beletrina (Slovenia)
  • ArtRage (Poland)
  • Garamond (Czech Republic)

Read our sample translation of The Ascent

About the book

In the summer of 1979, a house in Ghent caught Stefan Hertmans’ attention. The drooping wisteria was dusty, but the scent struck him deeply and took him back to his youth. He bought the property on a whim. It was only after selling the house twenty years later that he was confronted with what happened there during WWII. It was a bewildering discovery that the previous Flemish owner had been a SS member. ‘It is incomprehensible,’ Hertmans writes, ‘that everything that I could have already known or at least suspected, I overlooked.’ Gradually, the man he hopes to understand comes into view, as well as his Dutch pacifist wife and children.

Hertmans speaks with relatives, consults archives, finds intimate documents. In his memories, he wanders again through all the rooms in which he lived for so long.

‘You can read The Ascent as the history of a collaborator. As a masterly storyteller Hertmans sketches with an assured style, in the first place, a fascinating family portrait.’ – DE TIJD

‘The Ascent is a brilliant docudrama from the craftsman who previously managed to fuse fact, fiction and autobiography into gold in War and Turpentine and The Convert.’ – HUMO

‘Hertmans is at times the cool recorder, then at others the savvy novelist who etches events onto our retinas with a nonchalant bravura, a skilled storyteller who knows nearly every trick of the trade.’ – DE MORGEN

‘Hertmans has never written as thrilling a novel.’**** – DE STANDAARD

Stefan Hertmans (b. 1951) is the author of novels, story collections, essays and poetry. His work has won many awards, including the Multatuli Prize, the F. Bordewijk Prize, and the AKO Literature Prize. His novel War and Turpentine was nominated for the International Booker Prize in 2017. War and Turpentine sold 250,000 copies and has been published in twenty-four languages. His novel The Convert garnered praise from all sides. It was published in 2016, and won the E. du Perron Prize in 2017. In 2019 Hertmans won the Constantijn Huygens Prize for his oeuvre. Publishing house Gallimard (France) is preparing collections of both Hertmans’ essays and poetry.

© Saskia Vanderstichele

Additional book information

  • Novel
  • ISBN 9789403101316
  • Number of pages: 352
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: €24,99
  • English sample available