Adriaan van Dis
- Opening programme 'Open landscape - open book'
Date: Tue 30 August Time: 06.00 pm Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts
- Book Launch The Walker by Adriaan van Dis
Date: Thu 1 September Time: 2.00 pm Venue: BIBF
- Murong Xuecun talks with Adriaan van Dis
Date: Sat 3 September Time: 03.30 pm Venue: BIBF
- Café Amsterdam VI: Six revelations
Date: Sun 4 September Time: 7:00 pm Venue: le Café, UCCA
Life and work
Adriaan van Dis, born in 1946 in Bergen, the Netherlands, made his debut with the novella Nathan Sid, the story of a boy growing up between two cultures: the paradise of colonial Indonesia and the drabness of the Netherlands after the Second World War. Van Dis is interested in cultural clashes, and this fascination permeates his entire oeuvre, from Nathan Sid to his most successful novel, Indische duinen (‘My Father’s War’, 1994). A confrontation between two different cultures is also more than apparent in his travel books, such as In Africa (1991), which deals with the war in Mozambique. In his novel Familieziek (‘Repatriated’, 2002) Van Dis recounts the humorous and moving story of a boy who grows up in a family repatriated to the Netherlands from Indonesia, and who remains an outsider despite his endearing attempts to integrate. In 2007 Van Dis published De Wandelaar (‘The Walker’), a powerful, socially aware novel as well as an emotionally involving story of a loner trying to give meaning to his life in an ever more fragmented world.
Mr Mulder is an impeccably dressed gentleman, immune to the everyday hustle and bustle. An inherited fortune enables him to idle away his time, and indeed to leave Holland for Paris, where he leads a quite, solitary existence until one night he witnesses a horrifying fire in a building packed with illegal immigrants and other transients. The tragedy leaves Mulder with a companion, a dog that escaped the fire. The animal brings a suppressed, instinctive side of Mulder to life, and as a living link to the people it knew it introduces Mulder to a whole new world. Mulder starts searching for the cause of the fire and encounters a motley array of unforgettable characters. He develops an affection for mysterious Sri, whose illegal status he decides to change with the help of a fake passport. She refuses to accept him as her saviour: ‘I want to live my life without feeling guilty.’ ‘Me too,’ Mulder replies. ‘That’s why I want to help you.’ Time and again his attempts to do the right thing come to naught. Mulder is committed to ‘doing a little good’, but his ideals are no match for a city teeming with unrest and racial hatred. The Walker is a powerful, socially aware novel as well as an emotionally involving story of a loner trying to give meaning to his life in an ever more fragmented world.
Translation in Chinese
- De wandelaar is translated in Bulgarian, Danish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian and Romanian; a Chinese translation will be published by Anhui Literature and Art Publishing House.