The Dutch “Golden Age” and overseas expansion has spawned many fictional works about life and times of Dutch sailors, artists, and ordinary citizens in the Netherlands and faraway places across the world.
Joseph O’Neill, Netherland, (Pantheon, 2008).
An award-winning novel about the life of a Dutchman living in New York, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Narrator Hans van den Broek, a banker from the Netherlands, feels lost in the country he has to come to regard as his home. Then, driven by his interest in the game of cricket, he stumbles unto a vibrant New York subculture and starts a friendship with a charismatic Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon. Chuck introduces Hans to “another” New York, populated by immigrants and strivers of every nationality. According to New York Times Book Review, the book was amongst the ten best titles published in 2008.
David Liss, The Coffee Trader, (Random House, 2004).
From the cover: “Amsterdam 1659. On the world’s first commodities exchange, fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in a close-knit community of Portuguese Jews, knows this all too well. Once among the city’s most envied merchants, Miguel has suddenly lost everything. Now impoverished and humiliated, living in his younger brother’s canal-flooded basement, Miguel must find a way to restore his wealth and reputation. Miguel enters into a partnership with a seductive Dutch woman who offers him one last chance at success— a daring plot to corner the market of an astonishing new commodity called “coffee”. To succeed, Miguel must risk everything he values and face a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to see him ruined. Miguel will learn that among Amsterdam’s ruthless businessmen, betrayal lurks everywhere, and even friends hide secret agendas”.
Michael Pye, The Drowning Room, (Viking Penguin, 1995).
From the flap: “Gretje Reyniers is one of the unacknowledged mothers of New York— whore, moneylender, and pelt dealer when the city was still a tiny, hardscrabble colony of the Dutch. She left a formidable impression in the records of colonial New Amsterdam, but these are hardly more than a catalog of petty crimes. So in this vivid and haunting novel, Michael Pye sets out to imagine her whole, back to her wild, indomitable self…..Part history, part love story, part memoir, filled with startling imagery…”
Beverly Swerling, City of Dreams—A Novel of Nieuw Amsterdam and early Manhattan, (Simon & Schuster, 2001).
Firth Haring Fabend, Land So Fair, (iUniverse, Inc., 2008).
Bill Greer, The Mevrouw Who Saved Manhattan: A Story of New Amsterdam, (Booksurge Publishing, January 24, 2009).
Tracy Chevalier, Girl with a Pearl Earring, (Plume, 2001).