My newest solo audiobook project is in English again, although it was written by a Dutchman.
Maarten Maartens was born in Amsterdam, but lived in London from age 6 till 12, and wrote all of his prose in English, to reach a larger audience. God’s fool, written in 1892, is his best known novel, and quite a bestseller when it appeared. Like most of his works, it is set in a fictitious city in the Netherlands. Maartens adds a lot of satirical comments to the narrative, and remarks directed straight to the reader, which gives a strange effect. Both the book and the writer are all but forgotten nowadays.
Listen to the book to get a taste of the circle of merchants and bureaucrats at the end of the 19th century – although I’m sure a murder was not a regular occurence…
About the book
At the age of nine, Elias Lossell becomes deaf and blind from an accident. Communication with him becomes difficult, and mentally, he never really grows up. Years later, circumstances make him the richest man in town as the heir of a wealthy firm of tea merchants, while his two younger twin half-brothers Hendrik and Hubert are left to do the actual work of management on his behalf. This causes a lot of resentment, especially with half-brother Hendrik, who loves money, and is also hampered by a headstrong, spendthrift wife. Hendrik tries to gain control of the firm and buy out Elias by any means, but things get out of hand.
The novel is set in the fictitious Dutch town of Koopstad (“Buying City”), where money, commercial success and social status are very important. It gives a satirical view of contemporary life at the end of the 19th century.