Monday, October 08, 2007

A new (sort of) Hella Haasse novel

I so enjoyed reading Haasse's In a Dark Wood Wandering, a biographical novel of Charles d'Orléans, that I thought this deserved its own heading...

Hidden within the deals on Publishers Marketplace last Friday:

89-year-old Dutch author Hella Haasse's THE TEA LORDS, translated by Ina Rilke, set in the Dutch East Indies, amongst the merchant class, to Philip Gwyn Jones at Portobello Books, for publication in 2010 by Annette Portegeis and Lucienne van der Leije at Querido (world English).
This makes, I believe, four novels of Haasse's to be translated from Dutch to English, the remaining two being Threshold of Fire (conflict between pagans and Christians in 5th century Rome) and The Scarlet City (Giovanni Borgia, the "child of Rome," as he tries to discover his true parentage in the 16th century).

Per a brief mention in the magazine World Literature Today, The Tea Lords (Dutch title Heren van de Thee):

...traces the life and colonial career of Rudolf Kerkhoven: from his student days in Delft in 1869 and his departure to West Java in the East Indies in 1871 (where his relatives had been growing tea since 1845); via his successes and failures on Gamboeng, the plantation where he grows coffee, tea, and quinine; his marriage to Jenny Roosegaarde Bisschop and the birth of their children; [and] his conflicts with his relatives who live on the neighboring plantations; to his final days in 1918.
All of the characters are reportedly based on historical figures. Patience, though, if this has your curiosity up - the deal did give the publication year as 2010.


  1. lucy pick10:36 PM

    Eeee!!! I am so excited about this. I loved The Scarlet City.And I'll have to make do until 2010 with Threshold of Fire, which I had not heard of before. Yum, lots of good reading ahead...

  2. Awesome! There are so many wonderful books out there that haven't been translated into English. I'm glad to know this one is!

  3. sally jenkins6:52 PM

    I too enjoyed In A Dark Wood Wandering (and what a great title!) but I'm ashamed to say I did not know of the others. More to read! Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Ack, my email is no longer notifying me of post comments (the campus's overzealous spam filter is no doubt to blame) so I just saw these!

    I love that title, too. "In a Dark Wood Wandering" was taken from Dante, but the original Dutch title (Het woud der verwachting) means "in the forest of long awaiting" and is taken from the poetry of Charles d'Orleans. The publisher's introduction has all the details on how and why they chose the English title. Which do you all like better?

  5. sally jenkins12:53 PM

    Okay, Sarah. I did not read the introduction back in the day when I read the book. So I pulled my copy off the top shelf, and there it was. A good lesson for me, because I'd also missed the great story about the translation. I think they made the right decsion about the title, though from now one I'll hear the lovely echo of the other in my head as well.