The Latecomer | Granta

  • Published: 03/03/2016
  • ISBN: 9781846275678
  • 135x20mm
  • 144 pages

The Latecomer

Dimitri Verhulst

Translated by David Colmer

Désiré Cordier – mild-mannered former librarian, put-upon husband, lover of boules – is losing his mind. Or is he? Happily tucked away in the Winterlight Home for the Elderly, Désiré is looking forward to a quiet retirement with the other forgetful residents, safe in the knowledge that no one knows he’s faking his memory loss. And as if there weren’t reasons enough to opt out of the modern world, it would be worth it just to see Rosa Rozendaal again – the love of Désiré’s youth, the one who got away.

But dementia isn’t all fun and games. There’s a former war criminal hiding out in the home; once-beautiful Rosa might be too far gone to return Désiré’s ardour; and our hero soon begins to suspect he might not be the only one in Winterlight who’s acting a part…

A tender love story of demented minds and honourable hearts, and a razor-sharp satire of the indignities of old age and the callousness of caregiving, The Latecomer excoriates our society and asks: might we all be better off forgetting?

A raging against the dying of the light, with wicked observations and cynicism

Lesley McDowell, Sunday Herald

[There are] evil laughs on every page

Jane Graham, Big Issue

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

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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.

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