Madame Verona Comes Down The Hill | Granta

  • Published: 05/08/2010
  • ISBN: 9781846271571
  • 129x20mm
  • 160 pages

Madame Verona Comes Down The Hill

Dimitri Verhulst

Translated by David Colmer

Years ago, Madame Verona and her husband built a home for themselves on a hill in a forest above a small village. There they lived in isolation, practising their music, and chopping wood to see them through the cold winters. When Mr Verona died, the locals might have expected that the legendary beauty would return to the village, but Madame Verona had enough wood to keep her warm during the years it would take to make a cello – the instrument her husband loved – and in the meantime she had her dogs for company. And then one cold February morning, when the last log has burned, Madame Verona sets off down the village path, with her cello and her memories, knowing that she will have no strength to climb the hill again. Poignant, precise and perfectly structured, this is a story of one woman’s tender and enduring love – as a wife, and as a widow.

A delightful oddity of a book ... written in a quirky style, and manages to be witty, wise and moving

David Wood, Waterstone’s Books Quarterly

An intimate, unsentimental portrayal of European rural life ... In Verhulst's landscape, nature is ruthless, amoral and never benign, and human memory a cruel mirage ... His best sentences are gorgeously resonant

Gordon Darroch, Herald

Ageing, bereavement and death are sombre themes, yet this novel's treatment of them is agreeably entertaining ... this tale of enduring love is often preposterous, sometimes poignant and, above all, consistently charming

Peter Carty, Independent

The Author

Born in Belgium in 1972, Dimitri Verhulst is the author of a collection of short stories, a volume of poetry and several novels, including Problemski Hotel (Marion Boyars) which was translated into English in 2003. All his books are widely translated in Europe and receive a lot of critical praise

More about the author →

The Translator

David Colmer has translated more than twenty books, including novels, poetry and children’s fiction, by authors including Hugo Claus, Adriaan van Dis, Anna Enquist and Arthur Japin. He is a recipient of the PEN translation prize and is the four-time winner of David Reid Poetry Translation Prize. In 2010 his translation of Gerbrand Bakker’s Boven is het stil (The Twin) won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2012 he was awarded the Dutch Foundation for Literature prize for lifetime achievement in translation.

More about the translator →

From the Same Author