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Amsterdam

By Ian McEwan

The Booker Prize-winning contemporary morality tale—cleverly disguised as a comic novel—from the acclaimed author of Atonement.

On a chilly February day, two old friends meet in the throng outside a London crematorium to pay their last respects to Molly Lane. Both Clive Linley and Vernon Halliday had been Molly's lovers in the days before they reached their current eminence: + Read More..
The Booker Prize-winning contemporary morality tale—cleverly disguised as a comic novel—from the acclaimed author of Atonement.

On a chilly February day, two old friends meet in the throng outside a London crematorium to pay their last respects to Molly Lane. Both Clive Linley and Vernon Halliday had been Molly's lovers in the days before they reached their current eminence: Clive is Britain's most successful modern composer, and Vernon is a newspaper editor. Gorgeous, feisty Molly had other lovers, too, notably Julian Garmony, Foreign Secretary, a notorious right-winger tipped to be the next prime minister.

In the days that follow Molly's funeral, Clive and Vernon will make a pact with consequences that neither could have foreseen…
$10.00
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Amsterdam Stories

By Nescio

New York Review Books Classics

No one has written more feelingly and more beautifully than Nescio about the madness and sadness, courage and vulnerability of youth: its big plans and vague longings, not to mention the binges, crashes, and marathon walks and talks. No one, for that matter, has written with such pristine clarity about the radiating canals of + Read More..
New York Review Books Classics

No one has written more feelingly and more beautifully than Nescio about the madness and sadness, courage and vulnerability of youth: its big plans and vague longings, not to mention the binges, crashes, and marathon walks and talks. No one, for that matter, has written with such pristine clarity about the radiating canals of Amsterdam and the cloud-swept landscape of the Netherlands.

Who was Nescio? Nescio—Latin for “I don’t know”—was the pen name of J.H.F. Grönloh, the highly successful director of the Holland–Bombay Trading Company and a father of four—someone who knew more than enough about respectable maturity. Only in his spare time and under the cover of a pseudonym, as if commemorating a lost self, did he let himself go, producing over the course of his lifetime a handful of utterly original stories that contain some of the most luminous pages in modern literature.

“Nescio’s utter simplicity goes hand-in-hand with a great command of humour, irony, matter-of-factness, understatement and sentiment (never sentimentality or self-pity), all of which miraculously balance each other out. He is essentially a lyricist, a poet writing in prose.” Dutch Foundation for Literature

This is the first English translation of Nescio’s stories.
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Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City

By Geert Mak

A magnet for trade and travelers from all over the world, stylish, cosmopolitan Amsterdam is a city of dreams and nightmares, of grand civic architecture and legendary beauty, but also of civil wars, bloody religious purges, and the tragedy of Anne Frank.

In this fascinating examination of the city's soul, part history, part travel guide, Geert Mak imaginatively + Read More..
A magnet for trade and travelers from all over the world, stylish, cosmopolitan Amsterdam is a city of dreams and nightmares, of grand civic architecture and legendary beauty, but also of civil wars, bloody religious purges, and the tragedy of Anne Frank.

In this fascinating examination of the city's soul, part history, part travel guide, Geert Mak imaginatively recreates the lives of the early Amsterdammers, and traces Amsterdam's progress from waterlogged settlement to a major financial center and thriving modern metropolis.

"Lovers of Amsterdam will revel in the exhaustive reconstruction of everyday life in the medieval city." —Independent on Sunday
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Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City

By Russell Shorto

An endlessly entertaining portrait of the city of Amsterdam and the ideas that make it unique, by the author of the acclaimed Island at the Center of the World

Tourists know Amsterdam as a picturesque city of low-slung brick houses lining tidy canals; student travelers know it for its legal brothels and hash bars; art lovers know it for + Read More..
An endlessly entertaining portrait of the city of Amsterdam and the ideas that make it unique, by the author of the acclaimed Island at the Center of the World

Tourists know Amsterdam as a picturesque city of low-slung brick houses lining tidy canals; student travelers know it for its legal brothels and hash bars; art lovers know it for Rembrandt's glorious portraits.

But the deeper history of Amsterdam, what makes it one of the most fascinating places on earth, is bound up in its unique geography-the constant battle of its citizens to keep the sea at bay and the democratic philosophy that this enduring struggle fostered. Amsterdam is the font of liberalism, in both its senses. Tolerance for free thinking and free love make it a place where, in the words of one of its mayors, "craziness is a value." But the city also fostered the deeper meaning of liberalism, one that profoundly influenced America: political and economic freedom. Amsterdam was home not only to religious dissidents and radical thinkers but to the world's first great global corporation.

In this effortlessly erudite account, Russell Shorto traces the idiosyncratic evolution of Amsterdam, showing how such disparate elements as herring anatomy, naked Anabaptists parading through the streets, and an intimate gathering in a sixteenth-century wine-tasting room had a profound effect on Dutch-and world-history. Weaving in his own experiences of his adopted home, Shorto provides an ever-surprising, intellectually engaging story of Amsterdam.

“Rich and eventful. . . . [A] book that easily fuses large cultural trends with intimately personal stories.” The New York Times
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An Address in Amsterdam

By Mary Dingee Fillmore

Rachel Klein hopes she can ignore the Nazis when they roll into Amsterdam in May 1940. She’s falling in love, and her city has been the safest place in the world for Jewish people since the Spanish Inquisition.

But when Rachel’s Gentile boyfriend is forced to disappear rather than face arrest, she realizes that everything is changing, and + Read More..
Rachel Klein hopes she can ignore the Nazis when they roll into Amsterdam in May 1940. She’s falling in love, and her city has been the safest place in the world for Jewish people since the Spanish Inquisition.

But when Rachel’s Gentile boyfriend is forced to disappear rather than face arrest, she realizes that everything is changing, and so must she―so, although she is often tired and scared, she delivers papers for the underground under the Nazis’ noses.

But after eighteen months of ever increasing danger, she pushes her parents to go into hiding with her. The dank basement where they take refuge seems like the last place where Rachel would meet a new man―but she does.

An Address in Amsterdam shows that, even in the most hopeless situation, an ordinary young woman can make the choice to act with courage―and even love.

“In her well-researched novel, Fillmore vividly portrays Amsterdam, Rachel, and her family… An intense tale that gives the tragedies of history a Dutch dwelling and a family name.” Kirkus Review
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Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

By Anne Frank

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank's remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and + Read More..
Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank's remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the "Secret Annex" of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.

In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and amusing, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
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Girl in Hyacinth Blue

By Susan Vreeland

This luminous story begins in the present day, when a professor invites a colleague to his home to see a painting that he has kept secret for decades. The professor swears it is a Vermeer—but why has he hidden this important work for so long? The reasons unfold in a series of events that trace the ownership of + Read More..
This luminous story begins in the present day, when a professor invites a colleague to his home to see a painting that he has kept secret for decades. The professor swears it is a Vermeer—but why has he hidden this important work for so long? The reasons unfold in a series of events that trace the ownership of the painting back to World War II and Amsterdam, and still further back to the moment of the work's inspiration. As the painting moves through each owner's hands, what was long hidden quietly surfaces, illuminating poignant moments in multiple lives. Susan Vreeland's characters remind us, through their love of this mysterious painting, how beauty transforms and why we reach for it, what lasts and what in our lives is singular and unforgettable.
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Girl with a Pearl Earring

By Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief + Read More..
Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . . . even as she herself is immortalized in canvas and oil.

"[Chevalier] creates a world reminiscent of a Vermeer interior: suspended in a particular moment, it transcends its time and place." The New Yorker
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History of a Pleasure Seeker

By Richard Mason

'A sharply written story of love, money and erotic intrigue pulsing behind the staid canal fronts of nineteenth-century Amsterdam' Daisy Goodwin

'The adventures of adolescence had taught Piet Barol that he was extremely attractive to most women and to many men. He was old enough to be pragmatic about this advantage...'

It is 1907. The belle époque is in full + Read More..
'A sharply written story of love, money and erotic intrigue pulsing behind the staid canal fronts of nineteenth-century Amsterdam' Daisy Goodwin

'The adventures of adolescence had taught Piet Barol that he was extremely attractive to most women and to many men. He was old enough to be pragmatic about this advantage...'

It is 1907. The belle époque is in full swing. Piet Barol has escaped the drabness of the provinces for the grandest mansion in Amsterdam. As tutor to the son of Europe's wealthiest hotelier, he learns the intimate secrets of this glittering family - and changes it forever. With nothing but his exquisite looks and wit to rely on, he is determined to make a fortune of his own. But in the heady exhilaration of this new world, amid delights and temptations he has only dreamed of, Piet discovers that some of the liaisons he has cultivated are dangerous indeed.

"A hugely accomplished novel - the story of Piet Barol, a young, provincial Dutchman and the social and sexual adventures he embarks upon in belle epoque Amsterdam." THE INDEPENDENT
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Last Call

By Harry Mulisch

"This is the highest kind of achievement of which fiction is capable. . . . Ranks with the finest European fiction of recent years." The Christian Science Monitor

Uli Bouwmeester is a retired variety artiste who spends his days whiling away his time. Out of the blue, an invitation arrives to play the leading part in a new drama + Read More..
"This is the highest kind of achievement of which fiction is capable. . . . Ranks with the finest European fiction of recent years." The Christian Science Monitor

Uli Bouwmeester is a retired variety artiste who spends his days whiling away his time. Out of the blue, an invitation arrives to play the leading part in a new drama at the Actor's Theater in Amsterdam, and he is flung with a vengeance from the monotony of life in the suburbs into the reality of the 1980s. All goes well until a television crew arrives to interview Uli, revealing a secret from his past that threatens not only the success of the theater's enterprise but also Uli's life.
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Max Havelaar: Or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company

By Multatuli

When Max Havelaar was first published in Holland in 1860, it ignited a major political and social brouhaha. The novel, written by a former official of the Dutch East Indian Civil Service under the pen name Multatuli, exposed the massive corruption and cruelty rife in the Dutch colony of Java.

Max Havelaar is an undeniably autobiographical novel; like + Read More..
When Max Havelaar was first published in Holland in 1860, it ignited a major political and social brouhaha. The novel, written by a former official of the Dutch East Indian Civil Service under the pen name Multatuli, exposed the massive corruption and cruelty rife in the Dutch colony of Java.

Max Havelaar is an undeniably autobiographical novel; like his hero, Multatuli--the pseudonym for Eduard Douwes Dekker--was an Assistant Resident of Lebak in Java; like Havelaar in the novel, he resigned his position when his accusations of corruption and abuse were disregarded by higher authorities, resulting in years of poverty for both author and fictional hero. Max Havelaar is told from several different perspectives; the reader first meets an Amsterdam coffee dealer named Droogstoppel, a man so obsessed with coffee that his every thought and action is governed by it.

Droogstoppel has come by a manuscript from an old schoolmate who, down on his luck, has asked him to get it published. The schoolmate is Havelaar, and the manuscript relates his experiences as an idealistic and generous young civil servant who tries to protect the poor and bring justice to the powerless.

The central part of the novel details conditions in Java, particularly Havelaar's efforts to correct injustices in the face of a corrupt government system. That his efforts will prove futile soon becomes apparent, and there is something almost Greek in the inevitability of Havelaar's declining fortunes. Despite its tragic themes, Max Havelaar is savagely funny, particularly the chapters narrated by Droogstoppel, a character unmatched for his veniality, narrow-mindedness, or singular lack of understanding or imagination.

Though Multatuli's masterpiece is nearly 150 years old, it wears its age well, and Roy Edwards's excellent translation offers English-speaking readers a wonderful opportunity to experience one of the Netherlands's great literary classics.
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Nathaniel’s Nutmeg. How one man’s courage changed the course of history

By Giles Milton

The tiny island of Run is an insignificant speck in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago--remote, tranquil, and now largely ignored.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, however, Run's harvest of nutmeg turned it into the most lucrative of the Spice Islands, precipitating a fierce and bloody battle between the all-powerful Dutch East India Company and a + Read More..
The tiny island of Run is an insignificant speck in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago--remote, tranquil, and now largely ignored.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, however, Run's harvest of nutmeg turned it into the most lucrative of the Spice Islands, precipitating a fierce and bloody battle between the all-powerful Dutch East India Company and a small band of ragtag British adventurers led by the intrepid Nathaniel Courthope.

The outcome of the fighting was one of the most spectacular deals in history: Britain ceded Run to Holland, but in return was given another small island, Manhattan.

A brilliant adventure story of unthinkable hardship and savagery, the navigation of uncharted waters, and the exploitation of new worlds, Nathaniel's Nutmeg is a remarkable chapter in the history of the colonial powers.
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On the Water

By H. M. van den Brink

A "powerful tale of romantic regret" (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer), Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001, and finalist for the French Prix Medicis, On the Water tells the poignant story of Anton and David, two oarsmen trained by a mysterious German coach in the golden Amsterdam summer of 1939. Anton stands on the banks of his beloved river + Read More..
A "powerful tale of romantic regret" (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer), Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001, and finalist for the French Prix Medicis, On the Water tells the poignant story of Anton and David, two oarsmen trained by a mysterious German coach in the golden Amsterdam summer of 1939. Anton stands on the banks of his beloved river years later, on the wintry eve of Holland's liberation, and mourns a lost world. David, his Jewish teammate and quiet obsession from that magical summer, has disappeared, and the boathouse is now derelict and deserted.

Spare, lyrical, and nuanced, On the Water is quietly enormous, capturing a moment so precise and exact it is as if caught in amber -- a rowing club in Amsterdam and two of its competitors from very different backgrounds, set against the backdrop of the oncoming war.

The menace of tragedy to come is subtly woven into the story of the two boys whose only concerns are practices, races, and themselves. In the end, all that is left for Anton is the memory of his supreme happiness that summer.

"...beautiful, vivid writing...van den Brink describes the grace, ecstasy, and agony of rowing, the miracle of its teamwork harmony." The Washington Post
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Rembrandt’s Eyes

By Simon Schama

This dazzling, unconventional biography shows us why, more than three centuries after his death, Rembrandt continues to exert such a hold on our imagination. Deeply familiar to us through his enigmatic self-portraits, few facts are known about the Leiden miller's son who tasted brief fame before facing financial ruin (he was even forced to sell his beloved wife + Read More..
This dazzling, unconventional biography shows us why, more than three centuries after his death, Rembrandt continues to exert such a hold on our imagination. Deeply familiar to us through his enigmatic self-portraits, few facts are known about the Leiden miller's son who tasted brief fame before facing financial ruin (he was even forced to sell his beloved wife Saskia's grave).

The true biography of Rembrandt, as Simon Schama demonstrates, is to be discovered in his pictures. Interweaving of seventeenth-century Holland, Schama allows us to see Rembrandt in a completely fresh and original way.
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Rembrandt’s Whore

By Sylvie Matton

This internationally acclaimed novel is the fictional monologue of Hendrickje Stoffels, Rembrandt's mistress, with whom he spent the last twenty years of his life. This is her story.

A sensitive innocent, Hendrickje escapes the harsh realities of her garrison hometown to become a servant in Rembrandt's household. She soon becomes his lover and closest confidante, filling the void in + Read More..
This internationally acclaimed novel is the fictional monologue of Hendrickje Stoffels, Rembrandt's mistress, with whom he spent the last twenty years of his life. This is her story.

A sensitive innocent, Hendrickje escapes the harsh realities of her garrison hometown to become a servant in Rembrandt's household. She soon becomes his lover and closest confidante, filling the void in his life resulting from the death of his wife and two of their children. "Reborn at twenty" in Rembrandt's studio as his model and lover, and enlightened by the positive values of beauty, truth, love, and art, Hendrickje is fated to discover the hypocrisy and fickleness of Amsterdam society, which ostracizes her and precipitates Rembrandt's final collapse.

"A work of unobtrusive beauty, unforgettably true and poignant." Le Figaro
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Rituals

By Cees Nooteboom

A man of independent means oddly suited to survival amid the chaos of modern life, Inni Wintrop is a committed dabbler, content to casually wander the streets of Amsterdam, follow the dips and rises of the stock exchange and commodities market, speculate in art and love, and write a newspaper horoscope column. But his inconsistencies are interrupted when + Read More..
A man of independent means oddly suited to survival amid the chaos of modern life, Inni Wintrop is a committed dabbler, content to casually wander the streets of Amsterdam, follow the dips and rises of the stock exchange and commodities market, speculate in art and love, and write a newspaper horoscope column. But his inconsistencies are interrupted when he meets two men who are the epitome of order and regulation.
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The Apothecary’s House

By Adrian Mathews

When an old woman storms into the Rijks Museum demanding the return of her painting, archivist Ruth Braams cannot quell her curiosity. Together with Myles, her gay confidant, Ruth delves into the history of the piece of looted Nazi art and discovers an enigmatic picture with a disturbing wartime provenance. It also appears that the elderly Lydia is + Read More..
When an old woman storms into the Rijks Museum demanding the return of her painting, archivist Ruth Braams cannot quell her curiosity. Together with Myles, her gay confidant, Ruth delves into the history of the piece of looted Nazi art and discovers an enigmatic picture with a disturbing wartime provenance. It also appears that the elderly Lydia is not the only claimant and, against strict bureau regulations, Ruth endeavours to help strengthen her case. Days later, Ruth begins to receive sinister anonymous threats, warning her to stay away from Lydia and the painting.

When the door of her home, a houseboat on the Bloemgracht canal, is covered in graffiti and her gas supply tampered with, Ruth is convinced these are deterrents from the rival claimant. Our irrepressible and emotionally troubled heroine refuses to take them at face value and continues to strike up a friendship with the lonely old lady. But as the threats escalate, Ruth realises that there must be far more to the painting's popularity, and she enters into a series of increasingly lethal adventures as she investigates the painting's secret symbolism...
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The Book of Revelation

By Rupert Thomson

In an edgy psychological thriller that is as mesmerizing as it is profound, Rupert Thomson fearlessly delves into the darkest realm of the human spirit to reveal the sinister connection between sexuality and power.

Stepping out of his Amsterdam studio one April afternoon to buy cigarettes for his girlfriend, a dashing 29-year old Englishman reflects on their wonderful seven-year + Read More..
In an edgy psychological thriller that is as mesmerizing as it is profound, Rupert Thomson fearlessly delves into the darkest realm of the human spirit to reveal the sinister connection between sexuality and power.

Stepping out of his Amsterdam studio one April afternoon to buy cigarettes for his girlfriend, a dashing 29-year old Englishman reflects on their wonderful seven-year relationship, and his stellar career as an internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer. But the nameless protagonist's destiny takes an unthinkably horrifying turn when a trio of mysterious cloaked and hooded women kidnap him, chain him to the floor of a stark white room to keep as their sexual prisoner, and subjected him to eighteen days of humiliation, mutilation, and rape.

Then, after a bizarrely public performance, he is released, only to be held captive in the purgatory of his own guilt and torment: The realization that no one will believe his strange story. Coolly revelatory, meticulously crafted, The Book of Revelation is Rupert Thomson at his imaginative best.
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The Coffee Trader

By David Liss

Amsterdam, 1659: On the world’s first commodities exchange, fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in the city’s close-knit community of Portuguese Jews, knows this only 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 + Read More..
Amsterdam, 1659: On the world’s first commodities exchange, fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Miguel Lienzo, a sharp-witted trader in the city’s close-knit community of Portuguese Jews, knows this only 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 Dutchwoman 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.
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The Dinner

By Herman Koch

"A European Gone Girl." —The Wall Street Journal

An internationally bestselling phenomenon, soon to be a major motion picture: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives—all over the course of one meal.

It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between + Read More..
"A European Gone Girl." —The Wall Street Journal

An internationally bestselling phenomenon, soon to be a major motion picture: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives—all over the course of one meal.

It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.