R.A. BASART - THE RECONCILIATION (2016)
ABOUT THE BOOK
One day dr. Ini Pardijs receives a package with a gun in it. Who sent it and why is a mystery. Thus begins a kaleidoscopic story about a father and a son who have drifted light years apart. About the principal of the Holy Heart College, who has to force his new curriculum down the throats of his unwilling subjects. About the pretty postal worker in the orange vest; photographer Bob Tak (‘a name sounding like two fast blows in the stomach’), and many other characters who pass by like ships in the night. But above all The Reconciliation is a book about belief: in the Creator, in mankind wanting to elevate itself, but especially a belief in literature.
GOOD TO KNOW
* An absolutely unique novel by an author who cannot be pigeonholed. An attempt at comparison: Biesheuvel, Hermans, Sterne, Joyce
* Stylistically brilliant, utterly funny and extremely erudite: welcome to R.A Basart’s universe
* Rave reviews in the Dutch press, reprinted in month of publication
He opened the door; the light entered violently, and then, before him on the pavement, stood his son. He saw, blinded at first, a short dark figure, and a shiny helmet of hair, then the hand, lifted to the mouth, and finally the eyes.
He looked into the lemniscate eyes of his son, who he hadn’t seen for almost thirty years.
‘Good Heavens’, said the boy, who stepped back, ‘you must be wondering’.
The doctor didn’t answer. He was too busy breathing. He could only grin from pain.
The boy started barking, behind his hand. He cracked his eyes open, wanted to say something, but cowered, leaned forward - they now looked like two polite Chinese men bowing- and coughed obtusely.
He nearly choked to death.
When he got up, panting heavily, the boy showed his mouth, kissing lips with a cupid bow, a copy of his mother’s mouth. (Thought dr. Pardijs. That is, when we married. When we divorced, the little bow was withered down to a pointy protrusion reminiscent of the beak of a turtle.
He looked from the mouth to the eyes, and back from the eyes to the mouth, that barked again, hoarse and high-pitched. Only then did he see a four-wheel cart, from which four squared bags were hanging. After that, the clothes: orange and black. A postal worker, never seen before. And at the same time it struck him that the young man before him, and who took him for a hunchback, could never be his son.
‘Adversity and eloquence still combine well to give the irresistible work of Basart its own particular charm. Basart is a great entertainer, who has visibly learned from Gerard Reve and Heere Heeresma. He makes you smile at least once per page’ Arjan Peters, De Volkskrant****
‘In this funny novel, oozing with other people’s literature and crystal clear language, the narrator and characters are busy undermining language. What Basart has them conjuring up is absolutely wonderful and it broadens the mind’ NRC Handelsblad****
‘R.A. Basart is a writer with style, a mindboggling, fantastic style. Literary fireworks, there is not a single sentence in his novel The Reconciliation that is not enjoyable. The characters operate as Basart’s many mouthpieces. He pours out his idiomatic and visual talent all over us. And that is overwhelming. Whether it’s about God and Evil in the world, or the death of a certain Elisee from colon cancer, or about a hallucinating round in a Chinese restaurant in Breukelen. All is immersed in the virtuoso, erudite style of the writer who will sometimes take his time to describe an everyday situation in all its detail, the next moment he will write very bluntly about an extremely emotional moment. The reader is being dragged towards the end. Breathlessly’ Rob Schouten, Trouw
‘This is blissful writing’ Kees ‘t Hart, De Groene Amsterdammer
‘A great novel, you’ll want to read it again right away’ Knack
R.A. BASART - GOING HOME SINGING (2017)
ABOUT THE BOOK
In 1974 R.A. Basart, won an incentive prize for the manuscript of his first volume of poems: Orange Ball. He was 28 years old. The jury (Gerrit Komrij, Mensje van Keulen, Bert Bakker en Guus Luijters) identified his great talent, but when he was asked about his literary aspirations he replied that ‘he was not going to give up his job as a teacher to pursue a literary career’. Duly noted. A second volume was published, The Healthy Pharmacy (1977) and a novel, The Last Laugh (1997). Only last year his new novel came out, The Reconciliation, which was showered with praise.
And Basart kept writing poetry. Poems full of longing and absurdity, in which the exalted and the banality go hand in hand and the depressing triviality is happily sung, with the occasional dash of venom. Basart’s poetry is hard categorize, as is his prose, but while we’re at it he reminds us of Nijhoff and Elliot.
Going Home Singing brings together the best poetry from Orange Ball and The Healthy Pharmacy, plus some brand new poems.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
R.A. Basart (1946) published two volumes of poetry – Orange Ball and The Healthy Pharmacy. He published one novel: The Last Smile. It took him nineteen years to write The Reconciliation.
Lebowski Publishers / Oscar van Gelderen
T: + 31 6 46096823