Paul Biegel died
Last week Paul Biegel died at the age of 81. He was and is my favourite Dutch author. He is mainly known for his children’s books, but luckily he was one of those authors that don’t talk down to their audience. Perhaps his biggest gift was that he could make the mystical exciting.
In “De vloek van Woestewolf” (The Curse of Wildwolfe) a doctor travels into the subconsciousness of a man possessed by greed; in that world, gold has turned the man into a werewolf. But the doctor is down-to-earth, and will not be turned from his path. In “De twaalf rovers” (The Twelve Robbers), eleven robbers are sent one by one from their cave to go to the capital and capture the king’s treasure. When the last and twelfth is sent, he finds out that the other eleven have been caught in a web of conformity; they have become farmers, servants, and one even palace guard, and have forgotten almost all about being a robber.
Don’t ask me how these stories end. The mystical and the real will probably be disentangled, but hopefully not completely. With Biegel, the journey was important too.
Only a few of Biegel’s books have been translated, but some of his greatest among them: The Gardens of Dorr, The Little Captain, and The King of the Copper Mountains.