In tandem with a re-issue of his earlier
novels LEAP YEAR and ANCESTRAL VOICES, Penguin South Africa have just
published Etienne van Heerden's new novel 30 NIGHTS IN AMSTERDAM. The book was launched on 17 February with an event at Kalk Bay Books in Cape Town, attended by many prominent literary figures,
including award-winning translators Leon de Kock (who is the translator
of van Heerden's forthcoming IN LOVE'S PLACE) and Michiel Heyns
(translator of 30 NIGHTS IN AMSTERDAM).
Etienne van Heerden's 30 NIGHTS IN AMSTERDAM, which won the University of Johannesburg Award, 2008, the WA Hofmeyr Award for Afrikaans literature 2009 and the M-Net Literary Awards 2009, was first published in Afrikaans by Tafelberg in 2008. Translation rights have been sold to Podium in Holland and to Jumava in Latvia.
Dutch publisher Joost Nijsen of Podium says:
‘30 NIGHTS IN AMSTERDAM combines all qualities one might demand of contemporary literature of international importance. The writing is amazing and Zan is a classic character, one to fall in love with. It's a wonderful, moving, poignant story and thanks to the ingenious plot, gradually revealing many striking family secrets, it's also a real page-turner. Finally, this novel succeeds in showing the big picture through a specific human story. 30 NIGHTS IN AMSTERDAM is not only a story about family disintegration, but also a mirror of the cultural and political developments in recent South African history, interwoven with the scenes set in Amsterdam.’
PRAISE for Etienne van Heerden
'As writers like Marquez gave a rich artistic depth to South America - and Alasdair Gray defined the imaginative landscape of Scotland in Lanark - so van Heerden has created an 'artistic map' of South Africa.' -- Mark Stanton, The Scotsman
'His exploration of personal relations and private lives under the pressure of historical and political forces makes him an eloquent witness of profound social change.' -- Andre Brink
'He combines popular readability with literary excellence and profound issues in a manner accomplished by few writers of any nationality.' -- Shaun de Waal, Mail and Guardian
'30 NIGHTS IN AMSTERDAM is one of van Heerden's most satisfying novels yet. In literary terms it is a skilful novel, and moreover an enticing and compelling story…here van Heerden shines as a storyteller…van Heerden effectively deploys details of the Dutch anti-apartheid movement. I am also impressed by the perspective on Europe developed here. He examines Europe, and specifically Amsterdam, from the perspective of the post-colonial subjects, the mass of buskers, beggars, pickpockets and immigrants who grasp their chance at survival there, and give a new energy to European cities…Henk and Tante Zan, as Afrikaners in Europe, are also postcolonial subjects, and with this perspective van Heerden adds something new to the depiction of the relationship between being Afrikaans and Europe in Afrikaans literature, and to his continuing musing on place and identity…Tante Zan's exuberant, mocking, often vulgar narratives, written in the first person, are the highlight of the novel, and one of the highlights of van Heerden's oeuvre…One of van Heerden's most satisfying novels yet…an intense, energetic novel by an important South African writer. It will fuel reflection his work, but will also please the reader in search of a good story for the summer holidays. Buy it, read it: you won't be sorry.' -- Desmond Painter, Die Burger