Lodewijk van Oord

Frankfurter Buchmesse
Guest of Honour 2016

Lodewijk van Oord

1977, Madrid
Writer, historian, essayist.

Lodewijk van Oord studied History in the Netherlands and taught History of the Middle East and Conflict Studies in Wales. In 2010 he went to Swaziland to become director of education at an international school. Since 2014 he has been living and working in the Italian village of Duino, near Trieste. His first novel Albrecht en wij [Albrecht and We] came out in 2014. It features a rhinoceros that is transported from Africa to a zoo in Amsterdam. The book focuses on the relationship between humans and animals and was nominated for the Jan Wolkers Prize 2015. According to the newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, the first chapter contains the year’s most beautifully written Amsterdam literary scene. His second novel, Alles van waarde [Everything of value] (2016), shows us how a changing society deals with its own history and culture.


  Translations   Cossee   Knaus

Recently translated into German

The Last Rhino
Translated by Christiane Burkhardt
Knaus, 2016
Original titel: Albrecht en wij (Cossee, 2014)

Lodewijk van Oord. Due to tragic circumstances, the last surviving rhinos live in the Amsterdam zoo. Ambitious manager Edo Morell is determined to save the struggling zoo from its downfall - and he isn’t afraid to make sacrifices.

The cooperation with the South-African rhino-specialist Sariah Malan, who is very much involved with the endangered species, is starting to pay off. But even the zoo is not able to protect the rhinos from the hunters who kill them for their horns. Soon, Albrecht is the last survivor of his species.

Edo considers this to be the perfect opportunity to attract more attention to his zoo. In secret, he develops a series of spectacular events, the first in the Amsterdam Arena football stadium. He ignores Sariah’s animal activism, and plans performances on stages around the world. While they are slowly falling in love, their opinions on Albrecht’s fate grow more and more apart.

In The Last Rhino, humor and harsh reality are beautifully joined. Lodewijk van Oord reveals vital aspects of the contemporary political climate in fascinating scenes in his debut novel. The worse Albrecht is doing, the more urgent becomes the question of whether the end justifies the means. The Last Rhino is a novel that earns its place in current discussions, and is an unbelievable debut by a great literary talent."
The line between a deeply ethical deed and commercial gain is quite thin: that’s the superior irony in The Last Rhino. This makes the novel a splendid form of social criticism: it tells the story of a small issue that sharply pinpoints the current dilemmas. A dramatic ending seems inevitable, but Van Oord balances so delicately between Edo’s master plan and the irony of its consequences, that it stays exciting. And excitement, that’s what people want, right?

NRC Handelsblad

A well written, intelligent novel about Artis Zoo. The fragment of director Edo Morrell’s walk through the zoo is the most beautiful literary scenes in Amsterdam of 2014.

NRC Handelsblad

A beautifully, humorous and cinematic social criticism of our relationship with animals. The zoo as a metaphor for real life. After George Orwell’s Animal Farm we now have Lodewijk van Oord’s The Last Rhino.

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