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blokken / blocks

Translation, Dutch-English, 2007

An English translation of the short Dutch novel 'Blokken' (1931) by Ferdinand Bordewijk, in collaboration with translator Peter Shenk.

Bordewijk is best remembered for his novel 'Character', which was adapted into an Oscar-winning film. 'Blocks', a weird little gem in his oeuvre, is a modernist dystopia from the same era as Huxley's 'Brave New World' and Zamyatin's 'We'.

But 'Blocks' is most of all an exercise in style. Terse, angular language, filled with complex nightmarish imagery, this is some of the strangest Dutch we could find.

Read more in an introduction to 'Blocks'.

The translation is unpublished. Rights owned by the heirs F. Bordewijk, represented by Nijgh & Van Ditmar.