martin michael driessen
Martin Michael Driessen

is a director of opera and theatre, a translator and a writer. His first book,GARS (soon to be reissued in a reworked version), was followed byFATHER OF GOD, A TRUE HERO andLIZZIE. Driessen’s work, widely acclaimed by the press, has been nominated for various literary prizes and translated into English, Italian, German,  and Hungarian. In 2016 he received the prestigious ECI Award; the Readers Prize and the Inktaap prize forRivers, also nominated for the Fintro Literature Prize and the Halewijn Prize. His novelThe Pelican(2018) was nominated for the Libris Literatuurprijs.

de heilige (the saint)
De Heilige

Donatien is born in 1789, the year of the French Revolution. Hungry for fame and fortune, he employs all his talents in the opportunistic game of life. His life story is a hedonistic schelmenroman – picaresque novel. He meets contemporaries like Victor Hugo, helps set up the Beaufort Scale and sales round Cape Horn on a mad expedition. As a highwayman he becomes notorious in the Voges. He is both healer and murderer, childishly innocent and unsuspectingly devilish, adored by women and men.

His uncompromising search for luck challenges not only the moral code but also the fluid boundaries of identity: at times he calls himself Donatien, at others Donatienne, and finally Dieudonne. Even when behind bars he manages to turn things to his favour with his charm and inventiveness.

Morally unsound to the end, he goes down in history as Saint Dieudonne of Metz.

'The voice seduces you for the duration of a novel, wraps you up in pleasure’ Arjan Peters in De Morgen & Volkskrant

‘How brilliantly Martin Michael Driessen tells a story. He tells it so well that you almost forget that he writes it even better.. Here he attempts to grasp the spirit of our times and the man of the present. The prose is exceptional... Timeless books are also for our time.’ De Standaard    

' ‘Driessen stands for fiction, for real fiction, for something new, for something that also remains new.' NRC Book review

'A hopeless opportunist, a ruthless villain, a gallant highwayman, an ascetic saint. The main character Donatien is all these things. But above all he is captivating, clever, funny and even heroic and self-sacrificing so that the reader takes him to heart and overlooks his crimes far too easily. From unethical villain to pure saint seems like an unbridgeable gap, but Driessen manages it. Hats off to the author who has, in Donatien, created an unforgettable literary figure.’ Erik Hoekstra, bookseller

'THE SAINT is a brilliant novel that we give 5 STARS (excellent).' Allesoverboeknschrijvers.nl   

‘THE SAINT is a schelmenroman, a book full of jest. I kept bursting out laughing. Just take the ominous opening line: “When I was a child many thought I was a saint, or destined to become one.” The main character Donatien is rather full of himself and does, without compassion, really terrible things. You could easily hate him. But that doesn’t happen and that’s thanks to Martin Michael Driessen. What a brilliant stylist. He describes Donatien and the situations he finds himself in, so vividly and coolly that it becomes comic. As the reader you are full of disbelief about what the main character gets up to – it really is bad – and yet you do believe it all. At a certain moment I even thought ‘let me google what the life of this Saint Donatien/Dieudonne of Metz was really like’. It appears he never existed. I had been completely wrong-footed. It all sprang from Driessen’s brain. THE SAINT makes me think of the wonderful EARTHLY POWERS by Anthony Burgess. In any case I love Driessen’s work. Read his fantastic novellas too: A TRUE HERO and RIVERS. THE SAINT – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED’ Libris Magazine

Sales

Van Oorschot NL (original publisher)

Material: Finished copies (233pp), English sample and translated press

mijn eerste moord (my first murder)
Mijn Eerste Moord

A collection which includes new and older material: the brilliant novella EEN WARE HELD (A TRUE HERO) and short stories. The title story has been translated into English already. The book also includes Driessen's translation from German of Aquis Submerus by Theodor Storm. Driessen's stories show him at his best: carefully and powerfully constructed plots in stunning prose. His themes are timeless and profound. Stories that demand to be read and reread.

'Under Driessen's expert direction, the whole human drama of injustice and misunderstanding comes to life.' Trouw

 

Sales

Van Oorschot NL (original publisher)

Material: finished copies, title story in English

de pelikaan (the pelican)
De Pelikaan

SHORTLISTED FOR THE LIBRIS PRIZE

Andrej is the postman in a sleepy town on the Adriatic coast in communist Yugoslavia. Josip is responsible for the cable train to the Hero’s Monument on the hill. He is unhappily married and has a mistress. Amateur photographer Andrej manages to snap compromising pictures of the lovers and starts to blackmail Josip. Soon after Josip discovers that Andrej steams open letters and steals money out of them. To meet the demands of his unknown blackmailer, Josip begins to blackmail Andrej. Meanwhile the blue sea laps calmly on. Perfectly capturing the men’s mentalities, with empathy Martin Michael Driessen presents his main characters in a fable of mutual dependency. Driessen once again shows his great talent for making ordinary life into stunning and exciting literature.

Chosen as the book of the year by NRC Handelsblad, De Standaard, De Tijd

‘He can already, without argument, count himself amongst the best writers of our country. His new novel THE PELICAN again shows his extraordinary class.’  FOUR STAR review in Noordhollands Dagblad

‘In book jargon we call this a pearl or a jewel. He has out done himself with this book.’ De Wereld Draait Door

‘Prose in which craft, imagination and an almost old-school storytelling joy, embedded in an ingenious plot - Martin Michael Driessen is the patented supplier thereof.’ De Morgen****

 

Sales

Van Oorschot NL (original publisher)

Del Vecchio Italy

Gondolat Hungary

Amazon Crossing World English

Material: finished copies of Dutch and English

RIVIEREN (RIVERS)
Rivers

WINNER OF THE ECI LITERATURE PRIZE

WINNER OF THE READERS PRIZE

WINNER OF THE INKTAAP

SHORTLISTED FOR THE FINTRO LITERATURE PRIZE

NOMINATED FOR THE HALEWIJN PRIJS

‘Those who acknowledge Georges Simenon's greatness, and enjoy Pascal Garnier at his most bleakly playful, will take a grim delight in Rivers. Driessen is as hard, as uncompromising - and as entertaining - as they come.’ John Banville

‘These extraordinary stories have little tinctures of Maupassant and Conrad but the main ingredient is the powerful talent of Driessen himself. These are classically realized works of art, of impressive force and beauty.’ Sebastian Barry

‘Dutch theater director, translator, and writer Driessen scales the depths and sounds of distinct perspectives on several European waterways in this peculiar and alarming set of three stories. To detox from years of alcohol abuse and to train for his next role, an actor makes a solo canoe trek down the France’s Aisne River, only to encounter his own temperament at its worst and nature’s violence. An homage to the logging industry that has flourished along the Rhine for generations marks the book’s middle portion, as Dreissen follows a pair of lifelong workmates as they ride a long log barge to the North Sea, and details their lives and the industry in transition. Finally, a centuries-spanning dispute over land between two families—one Catholic, the other Huguenot—finds a fulcrum in an unspectacular, unnamed creek. Told from multiple viewpoints as the families unearth past wrongs and regrets, this tale reveals different aspects of the conflict. Driessen’s noteworthy collection displays humanity at its best and worst in relation to the waters his characters depend on for their lives, as we all are sustained by the earth’s rivers and streams.’ Booklist USA

‘Dutch writer Martin Michael Driessen’s novel, Rivers, was published originally in 2016 to critical acclaim, and it won the prestigious ECI Literature Prize. Three novellas weave together, each centered on a particular river. The first tale, All Comes to Naught, tells the story of an alcoholic actor who must combat his demons along the storm-swollen Aisne in north-eastern France. The second story, Voyage to the Moon, is set along the Main and Rhine Rivers in Germany and concerns a kind-hearted logger who has but one dream: to travel with the logs all the way to where the rivers end in the great North Sea. The third novella, He Shall Be Purified by Fire, Water, Air and Earth, is set in Brittany and concerns two families divided by religion and an unnamed stream. These families manage to sustain a centuries-old feud and the constantly shifting flow of water that separates them proves too much for them to overcome. The three stories span countries and eras—from the 18th to the 20th century—and are connected by the power of water, the moving flow of rivers that can bring life but also take it away. The stories’ power comes from the restraint the writer uses as he seems to hold each and every word hostage until that word can prove its worth. As a result, the slow build of pressure seems more like a rising tide than water bursting from a dam. These stories will make you struggle with ideas as well as plot points. Fascinating work.’ Historical Novel Society USA

‘Elegant and measured, the three tales collected here are also admirably tough-minded; Dutch author Driessen is an opera and theater director, and he offers a sure sense of unfolding drama. In “Fleuve Sauvage: All Comes to Naught,” a vainglorious actor on the verge of cirrhosis of the liver paddles down a river to ponder whether he can quit alcohol. But camping by the riverside leads to an encounter with a cow and its teenage herder that ends in gut-punch tragedy. “Voyage to the Moon: Life Is a Dream” features the parallel lives of Konrad, a logger like his forebears, and Julius, son of the local logging magnate and Konrad’s friend and eventual boss. Over the decades, Konrad finally achieves his dream of sailing his log raft all the way to the North Sea. In “Pierre and Adèle: He Shall Be Purified by Fire, Water, Air, and Earth,” the Huguenot ­Corbés and Catholic Chrétiens share a valley but are divided by long-standing hatred and a narrow creek. Throughout, humans have concerns outsized to themselves only, and the waters flow on unperturbed.VERDICTA real ­discovery for those who love world literature.’

Library Journal’s Summer Travel: In Translation, Eight Top Books That Will Take  You Far

‘This is a book of controlled greatness, with sparklingly vivid sentences and an omnipresent threat, and at the same time a soothing timelessness.’ ECI Jury chair Louise O. Fresco

Sales

Van Oorschot NL (original publisher)

Amazon Crossing World English

Del Vecchio Italy

Wagenbach Germany

Gondolat Publishing Hungary

Libros del Asteroide Spain

Sandorf Croatia

Material: finished copies of Dutch, English, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian