Joost de Vries studied journalism and history at Utrecht University. Since 2007 he has worked as editor and literary critic for the Dutch weekly De Groene Amsterdammer. He burst onto the Dutch literary scene in 2010 with his debut novel Clausewitz, a biblio-thriller inspired by the work of one of his literary heroes, Harry Mulisch. His second novel, De republiek (The Republic), which appeared in 2013, was awarded the Golden Book Owl for best Dutch-language literary work and has been published in German translation. De Vries ranks as one of the most important new Dutch literary talents. In 2013 he received the Charlotte Köhler Stipendium, an annual stipend for young literary talent. In 2014 his collection of essays Vechtmemoires (Fighting Memories) appeared, in which he alternates personal essays with studies of the (literary) culture of the twenty-first century.
Heyne Verlag, 2016
Translated by Martina Hertog-Vogt
Original title: De Republiek (Prometheus, 2013)
Josip Brik, pop-philosopher and professor of Hitler Studies, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now it’s up to his right-hand man, Friso de Vos, to claim Brik’s intellectual legacy for himself. But there’s more to his ambition and Friso – jealous, hypochondriac, more intelligent than what’s good for him and awkwardly in love with the girl he just left –tries to sideline the competition, and in the process, tumbles into a story that is absolutely not his own.
What begins as a lesson in grief and heartbreak gradually turns into academic satire, speculative history, and something of a spy novel.
The Republic is a gripping novel about deception and self-deception, ambition, the love of history as entertainment, and the hunt for the perfect enemy.