Dear Mr. M
2018 Longlist

Dear Mr. M

Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

Mr. M is being watched. As a famous writer, he is no stranger to the limelight, although interest in his work has been dwindling of late. His print runs are smaller than they used to be, as are the crowds at his bookshop signings . . . Our narrator clearly takes a keen interest in M.’s work, and indeed in every aspect of his life. But what exactly are his intentions? And to what does Mr. M owe the honour of his undivided attention?

Our narrator seems to be no stranger to murder, while his own story appears to bear more than a passing resemblance to the plot of Mr. M’s most famous novel: a teacher has an affair with a student, only to be brutally murdered by the girl and her teenage boyfriend. The body is never found.

That’s the problem with fiction: in real life, bodies have an awkward habit of turning up. Mr. M has used some artistic licence, and our narrator is not pleased, not pleased at all. And just before he fades into obscurity, he’s prepared to give Mr. M one last review. And it’s unlikely to be a rave.

Dear Mr. M is an unsettling and irresistibly readable literary thriller, set in the world of writing and bookselling, by Herman Koch, the author of the international bestseller, The Dinner.

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Herman
Koch

Herman Koch, born in 1953, is a Dutch writer. He was a renowned television actor on the series Jiskefet and a former columnist for the newspaper Volkskrant. His novel The Dinner won the prestigious Publieksprijs Prize in 2009 and went on to be a huge international bestseller. Summer House with Swimming Pool is his seventh novel. He currently lives in Amsterdam.

Herman Koch, born in 1953, is a Dutch writer. He was a renowned television actor on the series Jiskefet and a former columnist for the newspaper Volkskrant. His novel The Dinner won the prestigious Publieksprijs Prize in 2009 and went on to be a huge international bestseller. Summer House with Swimming Pool is his seventh novel. He currently lives in Amsterdam.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Sam
Garrett

SAM GARRETT has translated some 50 novels and works of nonfiction. He has won prizes and appeared on shortlists for some of the world’s most prestigious literary awards, and is the only translator to have twice won the British Society of Authors’ Vondel Prize for Dutch-English translation.

SAM GARRETT has translated some 50 novels and works of nonfiction. He has won prizes and appeared on shortlists for some of the world’s most prestigious literary awards, and is the only translator to have twice won the British Society of Authors’ Vondel Prize for Dutch-English translation.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

Four characters are the cornerstones of this novel. Jan Landzaat, a young married history teacher in the seventies of the 20th century has s short-lived affair with Laura, a student in the 5th grade, stalks her and then disappears mysteriously. A rather arrogant writer, M. (Mulisch?), writes a successful novel about this notorious case “Reckoning”. His downstairs neighbour, one Herman (then fellow student and lover of  Laura) writes him a rather threatening letter some forty years after the disappearance of Landzaats in which he announces that on account of how M. fictionalized the issue, he has “specific” with him. Will the matter of Landzaat yet be clarified? The smooth reading novel shows the dangers of “framing”, with elements of a thriller and is a satire on the literary scene.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
11/02/2016
Country
The Netherlands
Original Language
Dutch
Author
Publisher
Picador
Translator
Sam Garrett
Translation
Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett

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