Maarten's Perfect World | Een dag om aan de balk te spijkeren
Maarten Rietgans was born for a grand life. At least that’s his way of seeing things.
He sends Nina from Harderwijk a nice postcard from Kwadendamme. He receives a letter from her: ‘I have placed your postcard under my pillow. Every time I look at it, I long for you. Maarten, I want to be held and cherished by you.’ Placed the postcard under her pillow? Maarten shakes his head. He immediately writes back that he would like to refrain from further contact. He could never be involved with someone that makes that kind of error.
After his mother dies, Maarten Rietgans escapes the countryside. He enrolls in classes to become a student nurse and soon is top of the class. But then he quits because he feels alienated from his colleagues and flees from every form of recognition. Whether he’s working as a cashier, a photographer, a bus driver or a gasman, he never holds onto his jobs for long. His father, a farmer, doesn’t understand what’s going on. ‘Boy, of boy, oh boy, oh boy.’ Why won’t Maarten stick with something?
He isn’t doing any better with romance. He receives several responses to his personal ads, but he rejects most of them. A single grammatical error is enough to prevent a future date. His quest for a job, a woman, a grand and compelling yet quiet life is both moving, touching and comical.
Praise for Maarten's Perfect World:
‘Typically Dutch prose for the fans of Maarten ‘t Hart and Gerbrand Bakker.’ – Algemeen Dagblad
‘The power of this novel is in the sober and sensitive style and in the ironic humor of antihero Maarten. Rinus Spruit makes poetry of the ordinary.’ – de Volkskrant ****
‘Melancholic, tragic and humoristic. Everything written so beautifully that it isn’t heavy or sentimental.’ – Elsevier
‘A beautiful and special novel.’ – VPRO Boeken
‘Rinus Spruit’s writing is delicate and poetic. His book is a gem to read. I especially liked the love for the parents, described in words that are ready to be framed.’ – Reformatorisch Dagblad
‘Main character Maarten Rietgans is full of ambitious plans. The style is a mix of melancholy and humor. The melancholy is put in Maarten’s observations and the way they are written. And in the middle of the melancholy the author treats his readers with humor. Rinus Spruit has started writing at an older age but that doesn’t matter. As long as he continues. Breath deep, that clear Zeeuwse air and keep writing please.’ – Nederlands Dagblad
‘The language is simple but very effective. The atmosphere reminds us of the novel of Gerbrand Bakker.’ – Literatuurplein.nl
‘A melancholic ode to life. Besides the father-son relationship, Spruit’s descriptions of the farmlands and farmer’s life draw the attention.’ – Het Financieele Dagblad