Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett
When Robert Walter, the popular mayor of Amsterdam, sees his wife toss her head back with laughter while chatting to one of his aldermen at a New Year’s reception, he immediately suspects she is cheating on him. Though happily married, he has always wondered why Sylvia, born and raised in a distant country, chose him. Soon afterwards, a journalist unearths an old photograph of a police officer being beaten up by three Vietnam War protesters, one of whom she claims is Robert. Just as unexpectedly, Robert’s ninety-four-year-old father announces that he and his wife would rather end their lives than burden their son with their deteriorating health. Once stable and successful, Robert becomes entangled in his fears and suspicions, consumed by jealousy and paranoia. Nothing is what it seems, or is Robert finally beginning to see the world – and his life – as they are, for the first time? Written with Herman Koch’s trademark originality, playfulness and edge and translated from Dutch, The Ditch is a wildly clever – and guttingly familiar – story of a man whose sadistic skill for undermining himself and his marriage comes to cost him nearly everything.
About the Author
Herman Koch was born in 1953. He is the author of a number of novels – including The Dinner, Dear Mr. M and Summer House with Swimming Pool – short stories, has acted for radio, television, and film, and was a co-creator of the long-running Dutch TV comedy series Jiskefet (1990-2005). The Dinner has sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide and spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list. Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney, and Chloë Sevigny also star in the film adaptation.
Sam Garrett is the translator of some thirty novels and works of non-fiction. He is the only translator to have twice won the British Society of Authors’ Vondel Prize for Dutch-English translation. In 2012, his translation of The Dinner by Herman Koch spent two months on the New York Times bestseller list and became the most popular Dutch novel ever translated into English. His work has been shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Award, the PEN Translation Prize and the Best Translated Book Award. He divides his time between Amsterdam and the French Pyrenees.
One of Dutch best and successful novelists. Amsterdam Public Library/Openbare Bibliotheek, Amsterdam