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Granta, 2002 - Fiction - 134 pages
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"Frans Laarmans is a humble shipping clerk. One day he is suddenly elevated to the position of chief agent for a Dutch cheese company, with responsibility for Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Thrilled at the change in his status, he goes on leave and sets up an office at home. He takes delivery of ten thousand full-cream Edams." "But running a business is not as straightforward as he thought. As the bulk of the twenty tons of cheese sits in storage, crates and crates of it, it starts to haunt him. And when his employer, the brusque Mr. Hornstra, wires him to say he is comng to Antwerp to settle the first accounts, Laarmans begins to panic."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

"Elsschot" (1882-1960), whose real name was Alfons de Ridder, was the Dutch Italo Svevo: an advertising executive whose rueful comic novels dramatized the plight of the "little man" in a busy world ... Read full review


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About the author (2002)

Willem Elsschot is a classic example of a dilettante turned professional writer. He wrote his stories in his spare time while working as an advertising agent in Antwerp. His profession explains the themes of his most successful stories LijmenLijmen (Soft Soap) and Het Been (The Leg), published in 1924 as parts of the same collection of novelettes. Until this time he had never intended to publish anything he wrote and had to be persuaded to do so by the editors of Nieuw Vlaams Tijdschrift, a Flemish journal established to specifically promote the cause of Flemish literature and culture. It is his total lack of interest in anything academic, even literary - he claims never to have read a literary work of art - which lends to Elsschot's work the very fresh and original quality for which it is known. He humorously satirizes the dubious techniques of salespersons in marketing and selling their wares. In addition to his prose works, Elsschot has written some poems which have become a unique part of the Dutch literary heritage.

Harry Mulisch was born in Holland. His novels include the international bestsellers "The Assault" (which has been translated into twenty languages and made into a film that won an Oscar in 1987 for Best Foreign Film), "The Discovery of Heaven," and "The Procedure," Paul Vincent lives in London and translated Harry Mulisch's previous two novels.

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