Nest, novel 2010
A bitterly funny family drama about keeping up appearances
When sixteen year old daughter Julia becomes pregnant, the Van Wees family is all in a tizzy. Behind cast-iron fences and high hedges, a desperate search ensues for a way to safeguard Julia’s future. Fortunately, her mother knows the right people and her father keeps a cool head. Meanwhile, however, her younger sister sees that the coast is clear and experiences her first love affair. But what does the neighbor lady suspect? And what advice is given by the friendly family doctor who lives just down the lane?
‘a successful novelistic debut.’ het Parool
World rights: De Bezige Bij • Novel, 176 pages
White Feather, short stories, 2007
Filmic, surprising stories from the ‘debutante of the year’
Sanneke van Hassel’s stories are vividly clear, filmic and entertaining. ‘I prefer the fragmentary,’ she once told an interviewer. ‘Chekhov can have a woman call out at the start of a story: ‘dinnertime!’ And you know right away: this is the mater familias. And: she has something to lose.’ With little, evocative details like this, Van Hassel is often able to summon up an entire world. Sometimes, after a confrontation, the characters undergo a change, and finally have to rely on their own devices. The young woman in the story ‘Meg’ has her car fixed by a Turkish mechanic who tells her she looks like Meg Ryan. He gives her a discount, drops hints and finally she surrenders. In the title story, Van Hassel provides a poignant and tender description of an old man who is worrying about what his girlfriend, on holiday on the other side of the globe, is up to: ‘I stand there, the receiver in my hand. Complainers are no use to anyone. I hang up and sit down at the table. The spot of moisture seeping through the dining room wall is shaped just like Sri Lanka.’
Press about White Feather:
‘Van Hassel again wrote beautiful stories.’ - Het Parool
‘Sanneke van Hassel writes the stories of the big city of this era, stories of loneliness amidst the thunder and lightning, on the desolate and depressing sides of a society torn apart, but also on the irresistible funny sides of the intercultural traffic.’ - GPD
IJsregen (The Frozen Rain), short stories, 2005
A promising debut with a powerful undercurrent of tension.
A remote house in a snowy countryside. An researcher receives an unwanted visitor, and is faced with a horrifying choice. Other characters in the book are even less in control, like the filing clerk who opens her door for the business man who has lost his keys. In another story, a young woman decides to spend Christmas Eve alone, finds herself at a Japanese restaurant, has the taxi take a victory lap around the block and ends up in the bathtub.
IJsregen is a surprising and multifaceted collection of stories by a writer with the gift of letting facts speak for themselves. The characters are trying to come to grips with their lives. Occasionally imagination runs away with them, a thought takes over, keeps expanding and won't be stopped. Sanneke van Hassel’s style is clear, poetic and full of telling observations.
Press about Ice Rain:
‘Her style is exemplary: clear as glass, free of clichés, not a wasted word, no needless digressions.’ - Trouw
‘Simply makes you wish for more of these stories.’ - NRC Handelsblad
‘The new literary talent by the name of Sanneke van Hassel deserves a warm welcome’… ‘debutante of the year.’ - de Volkskrant