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2024 Longlist

Breakwater

Translated from the original Dutch by Liz Waters
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ABOUT
THE BOOK

A woman who seems to have it all is unable to tell her husband of her violent secret past, which threatens to tear their family apart. “A secret between a husband and a wife threatens their existence in Marijke Schermer’s novel Breakwater. Breakwater is a concise, cutting story about trauma, post-traumatic stress, and misdirected love.” ―Foreword Reviews

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Marijke
Schermer

Marijke Schermer is a novelist and playwright. Her stage work has been performed by several companies and translated into various languages. Her novel Breakwater was shortlisted for the ECI Literature Prize, has been sold to Spain, Switzerland, and Denmark, and is currently being made into a film. In 2019, her novel Love, If That’s What It Is was published in Dutch (and subsequently in English by World Editions) and Schermer was hailed as “fast becoming one of the most interesting writers in the Netherlands.” It was also shortlisted for the prestigious Libris Literature Prize 2020.  Photo Credit: Annaleen Louwes

Marijke Schermer is a novelist and playwright. Her stage work has been performed by several companies and translated into various languages. Her novel Breakwater was shortlisted for the ECI Literature Prize, has been sold to Spain, Switzerland, and Denmark, and is currently being made into a film. In 2019, her novel Love, If That’s What It Is was published in Dutch (and subsequently in English by World Editions) and Schermer was hailed as “fast becoming one of the most interesting writers in the Netherlands.” It was also shortlisted for the prestigious Libris Literature Prize 2020.  Photo Credit: Annaleen Louwes

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Liz
Waters

After finishing her studies at the University of Manchester, Liz Waters worked for several years with English-language texts and at a literary agency in Amsterdam before becoming a full-time translator of literary fiction and non-fiction. Authors whose books she has translated include Lieve Joris, Jaap Scholten, Luuk van Middelaar, Annelies Verbeke, and Geert Mak.

After finishing her studies at the University of Manchester, Liz Waters worked for several years with English-language texts and at a literary agency in Amsterdam before becoming a full-time translator of literary fiction and non-fiction. Authors whose books she has translated include Lieve Joris, Jaap Scholten, Luuk van Middelaar, Annelies Verbeke, and Geert Mak.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

Breakwater is a novel about a woman who keeps a big secret. Emilia Roovers, in her forties, seemingly has a stable marriage and a happy family life with her husband Bruch and their two sons. But Emilia’s big secret is a trauma from a violent rape in the past, long before her marriage. At the beginning of her marriage, Emilia keeps this trauma hidden from her husband. She does not want to be ruled by it. She wants to be autonomous and does not want her whole life and marriage to be determined by the past. With her husband and children, she moves from Amsterdam to the countryside, longing for more peace and stability. But the new large house is located in an area outside the dikes near a river. The desired stability in Emilia’s life is ultimately heavily threatened by a storm that floods the house. Against the background of this emerging storm, Emilia’s relationship with her past also bursts open. Through a series of significant events, this past comes to the fore and Emilia must come to terms with it. Thus, this book develops into a philosophical novel that deals with essential questions such as: should you always tell the truth? What is trust? What is intimacy? What is transparency? What is reality and what is perception? What is an exception and what is the norm? Are you the owner of your own past? How does the past determine the present? How does trauma determine a human being? Marijke Schermer carefully doses these questions, giving away only what is necessary, and as a reader you get closer and closer to Emilia’s thinking about herself, the people around her and her dilemmas. The reader is thus swept along in an increasingly intense story that gets under your skin.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
06/04/2023
Country
Netherlands
Original Language
Dutch
Publisher
World Editions
Translator
Liz Waters
Translation
Translated from the original Dutch by Liz Waters
Borrow this book from Libraries Ireland

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