By Hagar Peeters
Translated by Vivien D. Glass
September 2018. Hardcover and Paperback. Ebook also available.
$28.95 | 9780999754405 (hc)
$18.95 | 9780999754429 (pb)
WINNER OF THE FINTRO PRIZE FOR LITERATURE
“Cleverly unravels the myth surrounding Neruda without knocking him off his pedestal, written in sparkling language.” – JAN
Hagar Peeters, a prize-winning Dutch poet, gives voice to Pablo Neruda’s only daughter, Malva, who was terminally ill and abandoned to foster parents in Holland, where she died at the age of eight during WWII. Malva tries to discover how Neruda, the flawless hero of the downtrodden, could deny her existence and how his many biographers could write her and her mother out of history. Only in death can she share her story through her chosen ghostwriter, Peeters, whose own father was a journalist in Chile when Neruda died.
Witty and profound, Malva is a journey backward through history and the Chilean coup, seeing Neruda’s mysterious death and the moments that defined him through his daughter’s eyes. In her omniscient perspective, Malva is accompanied by other forgotten children—including Daniel Miller; Eduard Einstein; and Lucia, the schizophrenic daughter of James Joyce—as she tells her biographer of her small but not insignificant life. From South America and Dutch Indonesia to Civil War Spain and WWII-era Holland, Malva transports readers through a magical-realist landscape to worlds of grace and beauty.
It only takes half a page to realize that the poet Hagar Peeters is also a novelist of exceptional ability.
– NRC Handelsblad 4-stars
An incandescent and evocative debut.
Marvelous surrealist novel […], strongly reminiscent of Allende and Marquez […], a fascinating patchwork of fiction and history.
– De Telegraaf
Intoxicating language saturated with warm hues that’s allowed to rustle like a veiled wedding dress, and you have a lavish novel by a gifted poet.
– De Morgen
There are many parallels between the mute Malva and the language- and literature-loving Peeters in this father-daughter book full of yearning for recognition.
– De Limburger
Peeters impresses with poetic prose full of magical realism, biographical details and psychological insight.
Hagar Peeters (b. 1972) has published several volumes of poetry: Enough Poems Written About Love Today (1999), Suitcases of Sea Air (2003), Runner of Light (2008) and Maturity (2011). She has won many awards including the J.C. Bloem Poetry Prize, the Jo Peters Poetry Prize and the Poetry Day Prize, and was shortlisted for the position of Dutch Poet Laureate. Malva, her debut novel, was awarded the 2016 Fintro Prize for Literature (formerly the Golden Book Owl).
Photo: © Koos Breukel
Vivien D. Glass (b. 1975) is a literary translator from Dutch and German to English. She was born in Switzerland and moved to the Netherlands in 1995, where she completed degrees in translation and interpretation. Her published translations include works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, children’s verse and more. She is recipient of the 2013 Nederland Vertaalt prize for her poetry translation of a work by Gerrit Komrij.