‘De goede zoon’, by Rob van Essen has won the 26th €50,000 Libris literature prize – one of the biggest Dutch literature awards.
The novel is, according to the Dutch foundation for literature, ‘not only a compelling account of a journey through a labyrinth of strange events, it’s also a surprising autobiographical tale of a son taking stock of his life after his mother’s death.’
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The Libris jury described it as a novel which ‘confronts us with the shortcomings and challenges in our own lives… in this era of free time and luxury, with its robots and computers’. It, the jury said, ‘a time in which everything and everyone is under observation and corrected, when necessary, from above.’
Van Essen, who is also a reviewer for the NRC, was nominated for the Libris prize 10 years ago for his novel Visser.