Radiobooks / La Promesse - J.Bernlef
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Radiobooks

J. Bernlef
La Promesse

For Radiobooks, Bernlef introduces us to the owner of a small down-and-out hotel which she inherited from her parents.

“In order to fool myself into thinking that the hotel was still in use, I slept in a different room every night… I tried to imprint myself on the hotel, to live in it as if it was an ordinary house. A house with numbered rooms. But a hotel is not a home. It only prospers in an atmosphere of the temporary, of suitcases being brought back and forth, of keys handed in, a register full of names and dates of arrival and departure. There was never enough time to really get to know guests. A hotel is a temporary refuge, and exciting as that had seemed to me as a child, it made me sad now that I was an adult and was alone with all those empty rooms, without any guests to look after.”

‘La Promesse’ by Bernlef was translated by Michael O’Loughlin. The story is read by Jacky Spears.

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Vlaams Nederlands Huis de Buren Radio Netherlands The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature

Biography

J. Bernlef

Bernlef is the literary pseudonym adopted by Henrik Jan Marsman from an 8th century blind Fresian poet. He lived in Sweden between 1958 and 1960 where he started his writing career. Upon returning to the Netherlands, he published his first collection of poetry ‘Kokkels’ (Shells) and a collection of short stories ‘Stenen spoelen’ (Stone Rinsing). In 1965 he published his first novel ‘Stukjes en beetjes’ (Bits and Pieces). In 1984 Bernlef published his most popular novel ‘Hersenschimmen’ (Out of Mind). The book was translated into numerous languages, including English, and has been adapted for both stage and film.

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