Gliding Flight

Gliding Flight

Anne-Gine Goemans is a journalist and teacher of journalism to college students in Utrecht. Her career as a novelist began in 2008 with the publication of Ziekzoekers (Unfurrowed Ground), a book that grabbed the public’s attention when awarded the Anton Wachterprijs for best debut novel. Four years later, Goemans second novel Glijvlucht won the Dioraphte Youth Literature Prize and the German M. Pionier Award for new literary talent. The film rights were sold and the book added to the curriculum in some Dutch secondary schools.  In 2015 Glijvlucht was translated into English by Nancy Forest-Flier for World Editions and published under the title Gliding Flight. Cutting to the goose chase Gliding Flight is the story of 14-year-old Gieles who lives with his father and uncle in an isolated area along a runway, a landing strip for the local airport. This setting is instrumental to the narrative – uniting the supporting characters by being a source of constant tension to the unfolding storyline. The story opens with Gieles seeking advice on the best method to teach his two geese how to fly. He does this secretly as his father is responsible for ensuring that geese and other birds do not become a hazard to planes by venturing too close to the runway. Hence, Gieles would have his geese confiscated should his father discover that they were able to fly. Further Gieles is an avid fan of ornithologist Christian Moullec and pilot captain Scully who successfully landed his plane after geese had damaged the engines. Additional characters include Gieles’ mother Ellen who is on a mission to help people in Africa; Super Waling, an obese ex-history teacher, whose own family history tells the Dutch story of human hardship as men worked to reclaim land by building polders; Mieke, the gothic girl Gieles initially meets on the internet before leaving her family to live with Gieles and his family; Tony, the sadistic school friend; and Dolly, young widow, single parent, beautician and critic of everything. Flying in formation This novel contains multiple themes beginning with the analogy between teaching geese to fly and gain independence and teenagers struggling to learn essential life skills required to become independent adults. Other themes encompass Ellen’s need to be involved in saving humans in Africa, while leaving her own family to fend for themselves; obesity as a disability; first loves; cancer; innate tendency towards violence in some humans; and the war against industrial development in rural townships. The smooth incorporation of these themes in the narrative clearly highlights the authors’ literary talents. Gliding Flight is an enjoyable read with captivating characters, well-paced plot, and the right amount of tension to keep the pages turning. Highly recommended. Ana McGinley  More >



Amsterdamming

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I love Noord

I love Noord

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24 Oranges

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A Flamingo In Utrecht

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Kristen in Clogland

Kristen in Clogland

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New Explorers Guide to Dutch Digital Culture

The New Explorers Guide to Dutch Digital Culture is a combination phonebook and wiki for all things digital art and culture in the Netherlands. Virtueel Platform, a Dutch e-culture knowledge institute, has put together this comprehensive guide to the companies, institutes, and other organisations involved in the digital art and culture industry. Organised into three sections (Media Labs, Game Companies, and Media Festivals) the book compiles all the relevant information (contact details, dates, scope of work) into a hand guide. The index is especially useful for those in the creative community, which lists all of the companies and organisations by name, location, and industry. The book is visually appealing, using photos of many digital art projects to showcase the work of an organisation. The editors have also created some handy shortcuts, listing information such as the event date, likely users, and keywords associated with each group. Unfortunately, however, the text contains number of grammatical errors which can distract the reader from the content. As someone in the digital industry, I found the book useful and may even attend a few of the conferences mentioned. The book was funded, in part, by the foreign affairs ministry. Download this book Molly Quell www.mollyquell.com  More >


The Amsterdam Chronicles: Def-Con City

The Amsterdam Chronicles: Def Con City is a trilogy of crime novels by Irish writer, Brian Christopher, with Part 3 published in January this year. As the title suggests, the novels are set in Amsterdam - where good and bad guys run amok along the canals encircling the famous city centre. Harvey Wall is a homicide detective sent from the New York City precinct to the Amsterdam police on a six-month work exchange. His background is somewhat murky, and hints of him acting as a sole operator outside the confines of police procedures. Arriving in the Netherlands, Harvey outsmarts the two Dutch detectives sent to welcome him at Schiphol, dodging them to enter the city on his own terms. Before even setting foot in his guest precinct, he has detained three thieves and acquired himself a reputation for being slippery and brazenly unorthodox in his professional conduct. To the mirth of his new colleagues, Harvey is partnered with his antithesis Frank Bakker, '… a born-again hippie in his early thirties whose greatest pleasure in life was catching criminals' and eating stale pizza slices found in his desk drawer. This unlikely pair make for a successful police duo. When two unusual deaths take place on the same night within the same neighbourhood the police and a pathologist are called to investigate. More deaths follow in quick succession, expanding the crime scene to encompass recognisable Amsterdam neighbourhoods including Rembrandt Park, Kinkerstraat and the area around the Concertgebouw. The murders are creative and the culprit is endowed with specific powers akin to those of minor superhero characters. Links to the streets are included in the electronic version of the book for readers keen to follow where the action is taking place via Google Maps. The narrative is tight and fast-paced keeping the reader turning pages until the end. Occasionally there is a dip in credibility due to the use of character stereotypes, which do add colour to the story but are (hopefully) inconsistent with real Dutch police personnel. Ana McGinley Buy these books  More >


Roxy

Esther Gerritsen seems to specialise in writing about calamitous female characters. Her 2012 prize-winning novel, Dorst (published in English translation as Craving) featured Coco, a young woman embarking on a journey of self-destruction after learning that her mother is dying. In Roxy, the main character of the same name, quickly unravels upon learning that her husband and his young intern have been found naked and dead in his car. Her disintegration is disturbingly ugly - drawing an analogy between the reader and Roxy, who describes herself as the type of person who 'always want to look when there’s an accident on the motorway.'   Who is Roxy? Roxy, the only child of a working class parents, spends her childhood in a small town in North Brabant. Her father is a long-distance truck driver who revels in telling his jokes to strangers. Her mother routinely enjoys her wine to excess. After writing a book, loosely autobiographical, Roxy attracts some fame and quickly meets Arthur, a television producer 30 years her senior. Arthur whisks Roxy away from her parents, to a new life of comfort, celebrity and money. The novel opens with 27-year-old Roxy being told by police that her husband has died in a car accident. She takes the information and goes back to bed, deciding that by not telling Louise, her three-year-old daughter, or notifying family and friends, she can delay making the news a reality at least until the morning. This proves to be her modus operandi – delaying or refusing to confront her own pain by indulging in behaviour that distracts her from facing her true emotions. Her conduct picks up speed and intensity as the novel progresses, starting with Roxy having sex with the undertaker and ending with her flipping sheep on their backs (a dubious belief by some that this can kill a sheep). But the Dutch seem so mild-mannered…. Attempting to support Roxy as she faces the first days and week following her husband’s death are Jane (Arthur’s personal assistant), Liza (Louise’s babysitter), Marco (Roxy’s only friend) and Roxy’s parents who take up this opportunistic chance to enjoy the comfort and involuntary hospitality available in Roxy’s marital home. While all characters try to help Roxy, their help is compromised by their own psychological limitations and the irrational demands that Roxy makes on them. Escaping on an impromptu road-trip with Jane, Liza and Louise is far from a therapeutic experience for Roxy and her passengers. With each day, Roxy isolates herself further from her companions by her recklessness and inability to relate to the women as anything but paid help. In the final pages she calls her father to come and collect her in France, yet when he arrives she quickly refuses his help to continue on her own path of ruination. An uncomfortable yet captivating tale. Gerritsen has written a compelling novel. While difficult to maintain empathy for Roxy, or, indeed, any of the characters, there is a strong impetus to discover what happens next and a hope for a positive conclusion that urges the reader to keep going. The dialogue is sharp and the character interactions credible. Roxy was originally published in 2014. This novel, written in Dutch, has been translated into English by Michele Hutchison and was published by World Editions in 2016. Roxy is the third book by Gerritsen to be nominated for the prestigious Libris Literature prize. Selected as author of the 2016 Boekenweekgeschenk (Dutch Book Week gift book), Gerritsen’s latest novel Broer is now available.  More >


ABC Nederlands English

ABC Nederlands English is a bilingual alphabet book for children. Author Alison O'Dornan introduces children to the alphabet using words and objects that begin with the same letter in Dutch and English. Words like Banana and Banaan, Moon and Maan are illustrated with pictures and accompanied by a simple sentence in both languages making them easy to understand. With one letter per page this colourful little book is short enough to hold their attention and presented in a style that will appeal to kids. Diglot Books specializes in bilingual language guides for youngsters and they have recently launched a range of Flash Cards based around a shopping theme with pictures of items written in English and Dutch. Any of their titles or products would make a perfect first introduction for children starting to learn a second language. ABC Nederlands English is just one in a series that includes: Spanish, German, French and Italian. Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


Dutch Cooking: The New Kitchen

If the idea of authentic Dutch cuisine fills you with horror, then you're not alone. Even the authors of The New Kitchen admit that, 'Dutch cooking does not, to say the least, have a very good international reputation.' Amsterdam based writers Manon Sikkel and Michiel Klonhammer have penned numerous articles about their passion for traditional food and have enthusiastically updated some authentically rustic dishes in Dutch Cooking: The New Kitchen. You could be forgiven for thinking that there is little appeal in modernizing recipes that include culinary gems like cheese soup or salsifies with sour cream, but there's lots about this cheery and self-deprecating little book that makes you want try them out, like the bizarre but surprisingly tasty, eel and asparagus soup or the hash, made from stewed steak (with herbs, onions and juniper berries). If you ate this kind of food every day then watch out! You might just find your left ventricle slamming shut. It's what you might call wholesome, stodgy fodder: very short on sophistication but full of flavour. Generations of Dutch peasants toiled the polders nourished on this kind of fuel and it certainly hasn't stunted the nation's growth, so what is there to criticise? Well quite a bit actually, such as the bacon pancakes with avocado mousse, which according to my husband, won't even tempt a famished fox. As well as nearly all of the vegetable dishes, and specifically the sprout puree which looks like it's passed through the digestive tract of a cat. But thankfully almost every pudding was scrumptious and my three-year-old thought the strawberry fool and apple pie were 'Lishus'. It was only the prunes and curd that let the side down and looked revolting despite whatever nutritional benefits it may have boasted in days of olde... Dutch Cooking: The New Kitchen, has been lovingly produced in homage to old-fashioned Dutch cuisine and it successfully manages to inject some fun into a stale national pastime with this funky mix of traditional hearty fare. All the recipes are simple, cheap and easy to prepare which makes it an ideal cookery book for youngsters, or anyone who fancies trying out an eclectic menu on friends. But if you really are planning a 'Dutch' dinner party, and before you fill the trough, just make sure you choose the courses wisely, and more importantly, keep a defibrillator handy. Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


In My Father’s Garden (novel)

This successful novel from Dutch author Jan Siebelink, In My Father's Garden, is now available in English. The book, which won the 2005 Literatuurprijs, follows Hans, a father and gardener who becomes more and more obsessed with Calvinism as the story progresses. The book starts with Hans Sievez as a child and follows him to adulthood, where he marries his childhood sweetheart and they develop a flower nursery together. However, a man from Hans past brings him into devout Calvinism which ultimately tests his relationship with his wife and his children. Set in several parts of the Netherlands, the book does a wonderful job depicting the Dutch countryside and living conditions of the time. Siebelink develops interesting characters whose stories you genuinely become involved in. The story can become convoluted, however, especially as it jumps ahead in time. In all, an interesting read, both for the characters and for live in the Netherlands in the post-WWII era. Buy this book  More >


A Dictionary of Dutchness

The Dutch language can puzzle at the best of times but throw in an acronym or abbreviation and you're suddenly faced with a riddle, wrapped in a mystery and deep-fried in breadcrumbs. What hope have we uninitiated English speakers got if we can't tell the difference between a BOB and a TSB? Enter A Dictionary of Dutchness. All those quirky Dutchisms that have caught us off guard, drawn blank faces and LOL'd (laughed at loud) at our expense, have been meticulously rounded up by the editors at DutchNews.nl and compiled into a indispensable 400-word paperback that's as entertaining as it is digestible. The Dutch language demystified, brilliant. It's not just newcomers to the Netherlands who'll find a friend in this unofficial survival guide. What Dutch person wouldn't care to know what the FNV (trade union federation) stood for or if the CBP is doing what they're paid to do (protect data)? Some acronyms make perfect sense. Why struggle through Eerste Hulp Bij OngelukkenŽ and risk passing out - when EHBO (first-aid kit) just trips off the tongue? Then there's BOB. Poor BOB. He's that reliable friend who sticks to one beer so he can drive everyone home after a night out. And BTW, wouldn't it be nice to know how big your Hollandse Nieuwe were this year? (That's the mid-May catch of young herring). That just leaves us with GVB, a word that suffers from a split personality, standing for both a golf proficiency certificate and the municipal transport authorities. The list goes on and on, but you'll easily find yourself going along with it. I certainly did! A Dictionary of Dutchness is a great addition to anybody's bookshelf. Short and sweet, IYKWIM (if you know what I mean). Out of print Iamsterdam.com  More >


The Dutch and their Delta: Living below sea level

Jacob Vossestein XPat Media: €24.95 Buy this book It'Ž“s a little known fact outside of the Netherlands that one third of this tiny country - if it weren'Ž“t for a couple of great big hulking dijks -Ž would be submerged under rather a lot of water. Left to Mother Nature, Schipol Airport would in fact be a lake (it'Ž“s 3 meters below sea level), and rural North Holland - where I used to live - should actually be reclaimed by the North Sea. Jacob Vossestein (author of Dealing with the Dutch) has written a whole book about the Dutch nation's preoccupation with keeping water out of their clogs, and The Dutch and their Delta: Living below sea level, is his recent offering. This bible-sized compendium is a delight for anyone living in the Netherlands past or present who has ever wondered even a little bit, about the intricacies of pumping the ocean out of the Lowlands. With signs of their predicament everywhere in the form of windmills, canals, polders and huge grass-covered clumps of earth all holding back the waves, one can only marvel at the Dutch world-leading ingenuity when it comes to water management. You don'Ž“t have to be an engineering nerd to wonder how it all works, you just have to stare at the sea from the top of a dijk during a storm, to understand the sense of fear and foreboding these people must have felt in olden days. With 300 pages of excellent photographs and descriptive explanations, Vossestein'Ž“s enthusiasm for the topic, and his obvious love for this amazing little country shine through. The Dutch and their Delta: Living below sea level is a surprisingly fascinating read, and a perfect addition to any self-respecting Dutch coffee table. For a taster of what to expect, see Jacob Vossestein's youtube video about The Dutch and their Delta. Shelley Antscherl shelleydutchnews@me.com  More >


Sammy’s Next Move

Sammy the snail is none too chuffed when his parents announce they are moving to Japan. He'Ž“s only just got used to living in Italy and he'Ž“s really going to miss his playmates, so the prospect of having to make new friends in yet another country is distressing and upsetting. But thankfully young Sammy iŽ“s an accomplished traveller and when his mum reminds him about their previous postings and how much he'Ž“s enjoyed living in different countries, he warms to the idea of moving again. Sammy'Ž“s Next Move is written by seasoned expat and mother of two Helen Maffini and tells the story of what it feels like to be a Third Culture Kid, in a way that children will identify with. It'Ž“s a simple tale, engagingly written and very nicely illustrated and at less than 20 pages long, it's ideal bedtime reading for children and their parents. With two pages of tips and project ideas for parents of TCKs, this is the perfect little book for any expat child about to embark on a new adventure. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl  More >


Whipped Cream Architecture

It might sound like an odd title, but once you read the first few paragraphs it makes perfect sense. Whipped cream is a book of photography with a few pages of information about the origins of the white painted stone 'wigs' that grace the gables of the grachtenpanden (canal houses) in Amsterdam. If the subject matter floats your boat and you are curious about, or interested in the history of Holland_Ž“s distinct architectural style then this is likely to appeal. Whipped cream is a nicely presented glossy picture book without being ostentatious, and a perfectly respectable addition to any Dutch coffee table collection. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >