Last night around one in the morning, I finished reading my first book in Dutch. This calls for celebration, or at the very least telling everyone who will listen! To add a nice sugar coating to my joy, the book was fantastic. Everyone should read it. The English translation is coming out in July, so there will be no excuses.
The book is Komt een vrouw bij de dokter by Kluun. Cool if you can be an author with just one name, don't you think? It's the story of a young (I now think 35 is young) guy who's wife finds out she has an aggressive and deadly form of breast cancer. While that introduction might lead you to believe it's going to be a sad, weepy, sentimental book, it's not. The guy, Stijn, is a party animal. So the book swings between descriptions of great parties to descriptions of the pain of watching young doctors try to find his wife's vein for her first chemo treatment. And in case it didn't sound sad enough already, they've got a young daughter. I cried at the end. Couldn't help myself.
The English translation is planned for a July 24 release and will be called Love Life. The title translation is a bit lame. The Dutch title translates literally to "A woman goes to the doctor." Apparently there is a whole category of jokes in Dutch that start with that line. "Love Life" sounds too warm and fuzzy, but I'm sure there's careful, strategic planning in these types of choices, so I'll keep quiet.
Here is an interview with Kluun: Heartless philanderer or modern emotional realist? His book is enormously popular here. Every week I see at least one person reading it on the train and the last two were men in their 40s and 50s. I wonder if it will be picked up in the US or the UK.