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Harry Mulisch
Haarlem 29 July 1927 - Amsterdam 30 Oct. 2010 • Dutch poet and prose writer

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Harry Mulisch was born in Holland on July 29, 1927, to an Austro-Hungarian father and a Jewish mother from Antwerp. A prolific writer of novels, short stories, essays, poetry, plays, and philosophical works, he has won numerous awards, including, in 1977, both the P. C. Hooft Prize and the Constantijn Huygens Prize. Relatively few of his works have been translated from Dutch into English. The best known of these are his novels The Assault (1982), Last Call (1985), and The Discovery of Heaven (1992). The Assault, an international bestseller, was adapted for the screen and won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1986. Most readers and critics consider The Discovery of Heaven to be Mulisch's magnum opus. Typical of Mulisch's style, The Discovery of Heaven is a challenging work that blends philosophical, psychological, scientific, and theological inquiries to tell a complex tale about a hedonistic astronomer who befriends a cerebral philologist. Among his most significant untranslated works are Het seksuele bolwerk (1973), a biography of Wilhelm Reich, and De zaak 40/61 (1962), a report on the trial of Adolf Eichmann. (from: www.penguinputnam.com)
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BOOKS BY HARRY MULISCH:

The Assault
1982
"WWII novels"
The story of Anton, a boy whose family is killed in reprisal by the Germans after the body of a Dutch Nazi police chief, killed by the Resistance, is dumped on their doorstep.
ON HARRY MULISCH'S BOOKSHELF

The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, 1924
The story of Hans Castorp, a modern everyman who spends seven years in an Alpine sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, finally leaving to become a soldier in World War I.

Fictions
Jorges Luis Borges, 1935/ 1944 / 1949
This is a collection of Borges's fiction, translated and gathered into a single volume. From his 1935 debut with The Universal History of Iniquity, through the influential collections Ficciones and The Aleph, to his final work from the 1980s, Shakespeare Memory.

The Aleph and Other Stories
Jorges Luis Borges, 1949
In stories that play with the very form of the short story, in this collection, Borges returns again and again to his themes: dreams, labyrinths, mirrors, infinite libraries, the manipulations of chance, gaucho knife-fighters, transparent tigers, and the elusive nature of identity itself.

Faust
Johann Wolfgang Goethe, 1808 / 1832
The first part, in particular, of this unpredictable, philosophical tragedy-in-rhyme - about a scientist who sells his soul to the devil - reads like a novel.

Eureka, a prose poem
Edgar Allan Poe, 1848
The creation of the world, its continued existence, and its ultimate end.

Letter to His Father
Franz Kafka, 1919
This is a letter never sent, from Kafka, the tormented son, to his father Hermann.

[De ongelofelijke avonturen van Bram Vingerling]
Leonard Roggeveen, 1927
A 'boy's book' about the amazing adventures of a youthful alchemist.

The Discovery of Heaven
1992
"WWII novels"
On a cold night in Holland, Max Delius picks up Onno Quist, a chaotic philologist who cannot bear the banalities of everyday life. They are like fire and water. But when they learn that they were conceived on the same day, it is clear that something extraordinary is about to happen.
WHAT TO READ AFTER THE DISCOVERY OF HEAVEN?

COMPLEXITIES
Earthly Powers
Anthony Burgess, 1980
About a writer and the man to whom he is linked through family ties, an earthy Italian priest destined to become Pope.

Foucault's Pendulum
Umberto Eco, 1988
A wily group of editors devises a mock formula for tapping the mystical powers of the universe, only to set off a series of mysterious disappearances.

Lemprière's Dictionary
Lawrence Norfolk, 1991
At its center of this novel is John Lemprière, a (real) figure whose 1788 dictionary of mythology insists on springing to gruesome life.

MYTHICAL WRITING
The Sorrow of Belgium
Hugo Claus, 1983
The Sorrow of Belgium centers on early adolescence, Catholicism, and on a boy turning not into a man but into that slightly different beast, a writer.
- Richard Burns (The Independent)

The Flounder
Günter Grass, 1977
First published in 1977, this novel is based on the fairy story 'The Fisherman and His Wife'. Multi-layered and laced with poetry and humour, it analyzes the battle of the sexes.

[De keisnijder van Fichtenwald]
Louis Ferron, 1976
Decline of a hunchback in the Nazi era.

POSTWAR HOLLAND (THE RAGING SIXTIES)
Turkish Delight
Jan Wolkers, 1969
Love in times of free sex and 'Marxist garden gnomes.'

[Onder professoren]
Willem Frederik Hermans, 1975
Backstabbing and social disaster after a chemistry professor wins the Noble Prize.

I, Jan Cremer
Jan Cremer, 1964
The literary autobiography of the writer and artist Jan Cremer, in many respects the Dutch answer to Jack Kerouac.

THE COMPLEAT NOVEL
Gargantua and Pantagruel
François Rabelais, 1532-1553
The classic satirical and ribald tale about the travels of Gargantua and Pantagruel, set in the French countryside.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
Laurence Sterne, 1759-1767
Part novel, part digression, this gloriously disordered narrative interweaves the birth and life of the unfortunate 'hero' Tristram Shandy, the eccentric philosophy of his father Walter, the amours and military obsessions of Uncle Toby, and a host of other characters.

The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky, 1880
Three sons find their violent and vengeful lives exposed when their despicable father is murdered, and each man struggles to come to terms with his guilt over his involvement in the crime.

The Stone Bridal Bed
1959
'WW II novels'
Postwar journey of an American pilot to the Dresden he helped to destroy takes on mythical proportions.
Last Call
1985

The Procedure
1998
Microbiologist (modern-day alchemist) makes his own golem.
Siegfried
2001
What if Hitler had a son? Mulisch mixes philosophical reflection and psychological inquiry into an exploration of the single-minded quest of a Dutch writer determined to understand the source of the German dictator's terrible power.
[Het zwarte licht]
1956
After a traumatic experience, a young man decides to break off his engineering studies to become an artist.
Two Women
1975
Lesbian relationship ends in murder (by doubly-deceived man) of one of the women.
[De versierde mens]
1957
Seven stories in which mythology, fantasy, and reality come together.
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The Ledge
editor-in-chief: Stacey Knecht, info@the-ledge.com
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