After reading The Darkroom of Damocles by W.F. Hermans, Peter Terrin quit his job as a marble salesman and picked up a pen. He made his debut in 1998 with the short story collection, De Code (The Code). His fourth novel, De bewaker (The Guard, 2009), was his first major success, and he won the European Union Prize for Literature for this book. The novel was highly acclaimed as ‘a sensual book of ideas, an oppressive allegory of 21st century society.’ His true breakthrough came in 2012 with the majestic and heart-wrenching Post Mortem, an award-winning and highly praised work about fact and fiction, the basis of which was the stroke suffered by his young daughter, Renée, not quite four years old at the time. The novel Monte Carlo was published in 2014, and is a sharp-witted story about what fame and disappointment can do to a person. Terrin’s style is regularly compared with that of Kafka, Bordewijk and Camus. His books have been translated into more than 15 languages.
Berlin Verlag, 2016
Translated by Christiane Kuby and Herbert Post
Original title: Monte Carlo (De Bezige Bij, 2014)
Monaco, May 1968. Just before the start of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, when the beau monde mingles with the drivers and their racing cars before the eyes of the world press, the entire grandstand is witness to a terrible incident. Within seconds, two people are caught up in an accident that will change their lives forever: from that day forward, Jack Preston, a simple mechanic for Team Lotus, will bear the scars from which he shielded Deedee, a budding film star and the embodiment of the new social mores.
Returning home to his wife, in a remote English village where the drab atmosphere of the 1950s has yet to recede, Jack longingly awaits a sign of Deedee's gratitude, while following her meteoric rise on television. Until, one day, Deedee suffers a fatal accident, dashing all Jack's hopes. With the help of Ronny, a disabled boy from his village, he decides to take on the ultimate arbiter of fate, issuing a challenge to God himself.
With Monte Carlo, Terrin confirms his reputation as a maverick blessed with a rich and evocative imagination, and as a master of ominous detail and classical restraint.
Terrin raises the bar of Flemish literature slightly higher still with this jewel that glitters like a freshly cut diamond. Astonishingly perfect sentences and a composition of Swiss quality.
A flawless novel. (...) Terrin proves himself more than deserving of his wide readership. (...) Monte Carlo is a small masterpiece.
You don’t even need to make a list to see that Peter Terrin is one of the handful of truly interesting authors writing in Dutch.