One of the Netherlands’ most widely read writers, Tommy Wieringa made his breakthrough with the highly praised novel, Joe Speedboot (2005). According to critics, Caesarion (2009) landed him on the list of The Best 10 Writers in Dutch Literature. 2015 saw the publication of his novel Een mooie jonge vrouw (A Beautiful Young Wife), a tragic love story, in German (Eine schöne junge Frau). The translation of the award-winning novel Dit zijn de namen (These Are the Names, 2012), is expected in September 2016. This story of the grueling journey of a group of refugees won the Libris Literature Prize in the Netherlands. In 2011, Ga niet naar zee (Don’t Go to the Sea), a bundle of his columns, was published, followed in 2016 by the collection of travel stories, Honorair Kozak (Honorary Cossack). His work has been translated into many languages.
These Are the Names
Translated by Bettina Bach
Original title: Dit zijn de namen (De Bezige Bij, 2012)
A border town on the steppe. A group of bedraggled refugees appears out of nowhere, spreading fear and panic in the town. When police commissioner Pontus Beg orders their arrest, evidence of a crime is found in their luggage. As he begins to unravel the history of their hellish journey, it becomes increasingly intertwined with the search for his own origins. Through a meeting with an old rabbi, the last Jew in town, Beg discovers the truth about himself. With both humour and wisdom, Tommy Wieringa links man’s dark nature with the question of who we are and whether redemption is possible.
Astonishing ... Original, dark and quite unlike anything else I have read ... It speaks to the mood of our time ... Fascinating and superbly told.
Poetic, ambitious ... The pricelessness of our common humanity is one of numerous heavyweight ideas Wieringa balances carefully on his novel’s laden back ... Short, freighted words and sentences carry the novel’s ambiguous, questing symbolism.