The Tale of Solle | Het relaas van Solle
In 1974 Andreas Oosthoek wrote an impressive story about a blossoming love in the polders of Zeeland. For forty years the manuscript was lost. With this beautiful portrait of Zeeland and its residents, a ‘literary treasure has been kissed awake’ (Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant).
The young Solle grows up in the polders of Zeeland in the fifties, where he will later take over the family business. As a farmer’s son, he is the odd one out, but then he meets the eccentric Jacques – a Buutendieker, just like him. The boys become inseparable.
While Solle feels strongly connected to his background and family, the young baron Jacques Christophe d’Ulm wants to go around the world. He wants to live a nomadic life and seek freedom, strolling along the boulevards of Paris. Except for his relationship with Solle he has never been able to connect to anything. Despite their affinity, Jacques leaves for France.
They keep in contact, even at a distance. Although their lives are moving in different directions, they keep dreaming of a future together. But then Jacques is struck by a mysterious illness, and all hope on a long life disappears. Suddenly their time together is limited and soon Solle is left behind with nothing but memories.
The Tale of Solle is the story of this love called friendship, a gripping history about overcoming a great loss. Andreas Oosthoek is an admirable stylist of writing and arouses intense images in a timeless debut novel. A remarkable literary rediscovery for the readers of Jeroen Brouwers and Oek de Jong.
Praise for The Tale of Solle:
‘Dutch literature suddenly seems to be in better shape thanks to this novel. The language is so beautiful and the book is sizzling. Magnificent.’ – Tubantia
‘It is hard to write something about The Tale of Solle that truly does justice to it. It has an exuberant, nearly voluptuous vocabulary. The book is wonderful and deserves to be read at a slow pace, like a deeply layered poem. The sentences have been written in a trance. Relaxed reading releases a pleasant and musical flood. You could best read this like you were a Zeeuw, flowing on the waves. Be patient, read the sentences two or three times and you will read a magnificent, essential Dutch novel, from cover to cover.’ – 8weekly ****
‘The best you can compare The Tale of Solle to is Maarten ’t Hart, Theun de Vries and Gerard Reve. But Oosthoek’s writing style is completely unique.’ – Boekenkrant
‘Andreas Oosthoek’s poetry is clear and recognizable. It seems as though he stood next to his images, to present them with a gently gesture.’ – Thomas Verbogt
‘His poetry is the ultimate instrument to disarm you, written in a style both simple and elegant. He says just the things that a veritable poet is searching for.’ - Hans Warren
‘It is rich language that requires careful reading, while the family story urges you to read on. Hopefully this debut novel won’t be his last.’ – Elsevier ****