Once a moody teenager. Television maker and writer.
Herman Koch is a celebrated Dutch television maker – during its ten-year run his satirical TV show Jiskefet was a huge success – columnist and writer. He made his debut with the collection of stories De voorbijganger (The Passer-by, 1985), about misunderstood loners struggling with their surroundings. His debut novel Red ons, Maria Montanelli (Save Us, Maria Montanelli, 1989), a mixture of confession and tirade in the style of J. D. Salinger, is about a victim of a Montessori education and the snobby Amsterdam upper class. In his subsequent novels he developed into a writer of ironic realism, searching for a drama worthy of being told. His protagonists are burdened by their empty lives, feel unjustly treated and search for a way out. In 2009 Het diner (The Dinner) appeared, earning Koch international acclaim. The rights to the book were sold to no fewer than 37 countries; the book topped the Dutch bestseller lists for months and The New York Times bestseller list for weeks. More than 2.5 million copies were sold worldwide, and the American film version, starring Richard Gere, will premiere in early 2017. Koch’s most recent novel, Geachte heer M. (Dear Mr M.), was favourably received in 2014.
Dear Mr M.
Kiepenheuer & Witsch Verlag, 2015
Translated by Christiane Kuby und Herbest Post
Original titel: Geachte heer M. (Ambo Anthos, 2014)
The once celebrated writer M. had his greatest success with a novel about the notorious disappearance of Jan Landzaat. This history teacher disappeared after a brief affair with a stunning pupil, and was last seen at the holiday cottage where she was staying with her new boyfriend. The novel was a bestseller and marked M.’s international breakthrough, but now, at the end of his career, he is fading increasingly into obscurity. But not when it comes to his mysterious downstairs neighbour, who keeps a close eye on M. What does he have to do with the disappearance case?
From various perspectives, Herman Koch tells the intriguing story of a writer in decline, a teenage couple in love and a missing teacher. Thanks to the bestseller, their fate seems to be linked forever. Dear Mr M. is a magnificent novel about jealousy and envy, friendship and love. With his world-renowned sharp eye, Herman Koch once again spares nothing and no one.
Koch has mastered all the tricks. He is the master of variety, balance and subtle cliff-hangers. [...] Plot-driven is an understatement: Koch cracks the whip to the very end.
The writing is crystal clear and unpretentious, typically Koch!