Martin Michael Driessen

Longlisted for the AKO Prize.

This is a wildly original novel. With multiple digressions, it tells the story of a bumbling knight, Gars de Gars, who eventually finds himself both pope and king of France. There is a large supporting cast of magicians and armourers, queens, princes and princesses. The effect is by turns surreal, erotic, anachronistic, scatological and cartoon-like. The pineapple also plays an important role.

Though Gars is aware that ‘the world is full of false signs’, he nevertheless goes charging off on a quest for each new one, giving the book great narrative drive. The novel’s originality does not preclude occasional echoes of Rabelais, W.F. Hermans and Louis Paul Boon.

Martin Michael Driessen made his debut in 1999 with this sensational book, which he wrote after the death of his son. All the elements that are so characteristic of Driessen’s later work are already present in this: the relationship of fathers to their children, the intense love for life, the fear of old age, death and loss, and the inability of man to learn from his mistakes.

Recently reissued in a reworked version, this is classic Driessen.


  • Van Oorschot NL

Material Dutch edition 264pp