Tommy Wieringa - Joe Speedboat
With his wheelchair-bound narrator, Fransje Hermans, who has cerebral palsy and cannot speak but only grunt unintelligibly, Tommy Wieringa has written a novel whose every page sparkles with brilliant inventiveness.
The story centres on Joe Speedboat, Fransje’s friend and enterprising counterpart. A newcomer to the small community, Joe startles the villagers out of their lethargy time and again with spectacular exploits: planting bombs, for instance, or building an aeroplane to spy on Mrs. Eilander as she suns herself in the back garden. Joe is a centrifugal force. He even manages to turn the paralysed Fransje into a sportsman by having him participate in arm-wrestling contests.
Joe Speedboat provides the reader with a unique experience. The intriguing characters come to life in a wonderful, tragicomic story, and there are surprises on every page: beautiful images, striking descriptions, magnificent details. Wieringa brilliantly describes a tightly-knit group of young people in the process of losing their innocence.
Wieringa succeeds admirably in making the world of these not-very-nice boys tangible. He has a great sense of rhythm. His sentences never lose their intensity, in fact the book never lets up, just keeps on swinging, from start to finish.
Tommy Wieringa (b. 1967) published his debut novel, Dormantique’s Shortcoming, in 1995. His breakthrough came with All About Tristan (2002), awarded the Halewijn Prize and nominated for the AKO Literature Prize. With the awardwinning and bestselling novel Joe Speedboat (2005), he reached a large audience. The book has been translated into manylanguages and was followed by the equally successful Caesarion (2009).
- ‘A book to fall in love with, right from the very first page. It reminds one of the work of John Irving and Paul Auster. With Joe Speedboat, Wieringa’s authorship has reached full maturity.’ - Het Parool