Tomas Lieske - Everything Shifts
It will come as no surprise to readers of Lieske that in his latest novel he switches perspectives and shuffles disorienting atmospheres, until it seems as if nothing can be relied upon. Thirty-four-year-old protagonist Anton Milot, grieving for his wife Robin who has been killed in an accident, meets his younger self on the street. He travels to Berlin with the boy he once was, who tells him about his childhood in the 1950s. The Second World War cast a shadow over family life. Anton’s father, a hero of the Dutch resistance under Nazi occupation, later turned into a domineering, witless oaf whose fits of anger meant that those closest to him lived in a permanent state of anxiety.
Whereas the adult Anton is plagued by epileptic seizures that distort his view of the world, Anton as a boy possesses an accurate and vivid memory – of the German girl Rosemarie, for example, a refugee from Berlin, who stayed in the Milots’ house from 1949 onwards and with whom Anton had his first erotic experiences. Anton’s love for Rosemarie is doomed and in a shocking scene the father is toppled from his pedestal with a thundering crash. With its extraordinary structure and poetic style – each sentence has its own astonishing and mysterious power – the novel is a deeply moving portrayal of a lost childhood.
Tomas Lieske writes novels, stories and poems. His work has met with great critical acclaim and won him several major literary prizes. He wrote Everything Shifts according to his usual procedure: during a long, solitary stay in an unfamiliar city. This time that city was Paris.
- ‘The best Dutch novel of 2010.’ – Vrij Nederland