Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
(The Netherlands, 1991)
© Jouk Oosterhof
BiographyMarieke Lucas Rijneveld is considered one of the rising stars in contemporary Dutch literature. In 2015 Rijneveld published Kalfsvlies ('Calf's Caul'), a collection of poetry which was awarded the C. Buddingh’ Prize for best Dutch-language poetry debut, prompting the daily newspaper de Volkskrant to proclaim her the national literary talent of the year. In 2020 she has been awarded the International Booker Prize for her novel The Discomfort of Evening, translated by Michele Hutchison.
In 2018 she published her first novel De avond is ongemak [The Discomfort of Evening]. The book became a bestseller and was widely acclaimed as one of the best novels of the year. It tells the story of a protestant family of farmers mourning after one of the children dies. Rijneveld’s prose corresponds in many ways to her poetic world: the style is exuberant and the imagery is rich, with a young narrator who lets her fantasies run wild. In 2019 Rijneveld published Fantoommerrie [Phantom Mare], her second book of poetry.
The jury report about her award-winning debut collection:
"An unbridled poet presents herself in 'Calf's Caul' by Marieke Rijneveld. After a number of dramas occuring in her family, a young woman learns that there are very few certainties. She shows that there is no true separation between the inside and the outside world; through the screen of words we peer inside as if through a membrane. A stream of comparisons washes over us like a tidal wave: eyes floating in their sockets are "like marinated mozzarella balls in their liquid". Her pages offer no moments of rest, carrying the reader away breathlessly on the rhythm of the poetry. The jury was overwhelmed by Rijneveld's talent, flowing so naturally that it sometimes almost brims over the edge".
How do you go to bed when you have just run over a sheep? Trembling on the edge of the bed your cold hands like raw steaks over your eyes, her hand
forms half an orange which presses heavily upon your knee, back and forth
it moves, squeezing out everything that has happened to you but don’t forget the speed
of speaking, without pause everything remains a void, sadness has little chance of coming through. Please speak of wine you think, of how the children...
From IF IT HAPPENS TO YOU
In 2019 Rijneveld published Fantoommerrie (Phantom Mare), her second collection of poetry. Like she does in her debut collection, Rijneveld continues to explore her youth in the countryside in long stanzas full of imagery and contemplation. God, a fearful mother, a distant father, and a deceased grandmother all feature, and a young protagonist who struggles with her sexual identity, insecurities, eerie dreams, and the uncontrollability of her thoughts: ‘… why am I actually here on earth? / Why / are there holes in donuts? Why are snails never confused by their / hermaphroditism? Why am I so quick to anger?’ At times melancholy, always empathetic, Rijneveld conjures up vulnerable lives in which intimacy and cautious hope for happiness are tangible: ‘no, we say: we must talk and it’ll be all right. / Tomorrow we’ll look at the stitches and how to heal.’
© Sarah Timmer Harvey, Poetry InternationalBibliography
Kalfsvlies, Atlas Contact, Amsterdam, 2015
Fantoommerrie, Atlas Contact, Amsterdam, 2019
De avond is ongemak, Atlas Contact, Amsterdam, 2018
The Discomfort of Evening, translated by Michele Hutchison. Faber & Faber, London, 2020.
LINK in English
Interview with Rijneveld's translator in Asymptote
Poems of Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère