Palmen
1996 Shortlist

The Laws

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ABOUT
THE BOOK

In Dutch writer Palmen’s thought-provoking debut, a discourse driven more by ideas than plot, a young philosophy student defines herself through her interactions with established, intellectual men. Over a period of seven years, Amsterdam-based narrator Marie Deniet deliberately seeks out seven male companions, most of whom are considerably older than her 20-something years. Each contributes to her worldview, and at one point she even calls her dalliances “field-work”; tellingly, although she admires her conquests’ minds, she never fails to expose and analyze their flaws. Marie makes a plausible case for her own behavior: she desires powerful men because she believes they, not women, control “the laws” (art, science, etc.). The question remains whether readers will blithely accept this conclusion or see it as a psychological stumbling block common in otherwise capable women. The latter is suggested–after Marie seduces numerous men, writes a highly praised (though, she admits, derivative) thesis and boldly claims an artist as her true love, she breaks down and goes to the seventh and last man, a psychiatrist. However, women may still feel a justifiable aversion to her admissions of neediness and longing for male approval; they may also question the suitability of a male translator for this necessarily female voice. (from Publisher’s Weekly)

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Connie
Palmen

Connie Palmen studied literature and philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. She is the author of The Laws, voted the European Novel of the Year and shortlisted for the 1996 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; The Friendship, winner of the AKO Literature Prize; Lucifer; and the autobiographical novel I.M. Palmen currently lives in Amsterdam.

Connie Palmen studied literature and philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. She is the author of The Laws, voted the European Novel of the Year and shortlisted for the 1996 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; The Friendship, winner of the AKO Literature Prize; Lucifer; and the autobiographical novel I.M. Palmen currently lives in Amsterdam.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Richard
Huijing

Musician, Writer, Editor & Literary Translator.

Musician, Writer, Editor & Literary Translator.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
01/10/1992
Country
Netherlands
Original Language
Dutch
Author
Publisher
Minerva
Translator
Richard Huijing

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