Stephan Enter

STEPHAN ENTER’s 1999 debut was his highly acclaimed story collection Winterhanden, which was nominated for the Libris Prize and the Gerard Walschap Prize.

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NOMINATED FOR THE FINTRO LITERATUURPRIJS 2016 (previously the Gouden Boekenuil)

‘How I got caught up in it? Restlessness – yes, that initially. I had a girlfriend, a refined and lightly autistic scientist who could never decide whether she was into men or women, in short it was on-off-on-off and that became so exhausting that I took action.’

Frank van Luijn’s life, at nearly 40, has chosen a life free of obligation over the bleak monotony of being stuck with one partner year after year. More and more often he is bored and finds others ignorant and uninteresting. When someone describes the phenomenon of internet dating as a ‘big honeypot’, he decides, partly due to restlessness, partly out of curiosity, to sign up. And then the unexpected happens: after several disappointing experiences, he falls head over heels for half German Jessica. His life changes, he changes, luck seems to be smiling on him – until he comes face to face with an insurmountable obstacle.

Compassie is about self delusion. But where that delusion starts and ends, Enter keeps calling more and more into question.' NRC, one of best 5 books of 2015

'Enter has, also thanks to his never failing penetrating prose, created a small masterpiece with a speculative ending that is of great beauty.’
NRC Handelsblad

'A heart-wrenching tale... this is a painful, beautiful novel, written in painfully beautiful and precise prose in which all means are used to bring to light the underlying dark emotionality without heavy pathos.'
De Groene Amsterdammer

‘An impressive portrait of a complicated love.’ HP/De Tijd

‘Compassion is a beautiful mix of a wry-ironic look at internet dating and a razor-sharply drawn profile of a man who sees himself as an efficient Don Juan, but in the end has to admit superiority in a woman he initially sees as way below him. The clever thing about this short novel lies especially in the perspective.  Frank is the one telling us the story, in the first person singular and the imperfect present tense. He makes us witnesses, from very close up, to his false presumptions and so shows  unconsciously that he is the main victim of his nastiness.’ Trouw


Uitgeverij Van Oorschot NL

Actes Sud, France

Gondolat Hungary

Material: Dutch edition (154pp)









Twenty years after their university years and their first climbs as a group of alpinists, Vincent, Martin, Paul and Lotte are going to be reunited. An incident way back then, on the Lofoten mountains in Norway, above the arctic circle, altered their lives in dramatic ways. Confusion still reigns about what really happened, and in the run up to the reunion the past is illuminated by each of them in new and often humiliating ways. Three men in love with the same woman, this is a mountaineering novel as well as a gripping tale of friendship and passion. Enter is a prose artist, you'll want to reread this finally crafted novel immediately on finishing.

'Classic, rich and profound.' Trouw

'Reminiscent of W.F. Hermans. Enter achieves, with his vivid writing style, immortality.' Het Parool

'This is a classically constructed novel in which Enter's style combines with a flawless composition, strong characters, existential themes and a brilliant climax.' NRC

'Extraordinarily gripping... The novel is definitely not dead, thank goodness.' Nederlandse Dagblad

'Stephan Enter has written a superior timeless novel about time... in brilliantly formed sentences. Crystal clear and yet filled with empathy.' De Pers

'A flawless stylist who lifts up worlds with his well chosen sentences, twirls them around before your stunned eyes, to then playful let them slip away. Not by endless tricks of language, but just by writing really well and very precisely, with exact imagery.' Reformatorish Dagblad

'An instant classic that has allowed the year to end with a literary Mount Everest: the brilliant GRIP by Stephan Enter.' NRC Handelsblad

Picked as one of the three best books of 2011 by De Volkskrant


Uitgeverij Van Oorschot NL

Berlin Verlag Germany

Iperborea Italy

Font Forlag Norway

Actes Sud France

Gondolat Publishing Hungary

Ordlys Denmark

Material: Dutch edition (183pp); English sample.


GAME tells the story of Norbert Vijgh’s as he grows up in a protestant village on the Veluwe. We follow him from his ninth to his nineteenth year. Each of the chapters involves a game. From playing cowboys and indians in the forest to mischief on the building site. But for Norbert these are serious games that teach him about the world. The first story hits you like a sledgehammer. It is a simple tale about a boy who plays indians in a wood near a village on the Veluwe, a meeting with an African who is following a course locally; the establishment of a kind of friendship, after which at an unfortunate moment the African departs. GAME is written in a sensual, playful style that changes with each chapter. Through both the style and the story Enter expertly evokes the emotions and feelings of youth.

‘This whole book is for me a paradise of sensual sensations. Game is beautiful, tender, impressive’ Jan Siebelink

‘Enter is an extraordinarily good writer.’ Het Parool

‘The story is beautiful written with a great sensibility for the physical surroundings. Enter writes magnificent rhythmic sentences.’ NRC

‘Both for his first novel and his second (Winter Hands 1999 and Lightyears 2004) Enter was nominated for the Libris Prize. Without any doubt Game will earn him a place on the 2008 shortlist. It deserves this prize twice over.’ Nord Hollands Dagblad


Uitgeverij Van Oorschot NL

Berlin Verlag Germany

Chapter in Words Without Borders

Chapter in Dalkey Archive Best European Fiction anthology

Turbine Forlaget Denmark

Material: Dutch edition (269pp); German edition.



'In LIGHTYEARS Stephan Enter plays continually on two time levels. On one side there is the story of the present, the protagonist who faces the initiation ritual of his doctoral presentation and is inadvertently sucked into a series of happenings in which the ghosts of his past keep playing a central role. On the other side the researcher - who through his telescope studies events which took place in the universe a long time ago - relives his own past in the smallest details. The almost sensuous precision of the cherished memories show the cracks in that picture. LIGHTYEARS looks for a lost love, but at the same time asks how the relationship between two people fell apart and if the intensity of the love was perhaps to blame. Stephan Enter elaborates that classic theme subtly, through a play of motives and memories which make his novel into an enigmatic puzzle of elements. He avoids all superficial sentiment. The sentences are strung together associatively, in a slow rhythm, through his precise use of language, his continuous nuances and repetitions. This makes LIGHTYEARS a particularly successful and layered novel which compels rereading, rethinking and retaining.' Libris Prize Jury report



Uitgeverij Van Oorschot NL

Material: Dutch edition (320pp).