New York Review of Books, Paperback, 9781590174920, 161pp.
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
Who was Nescio? Nescio--Latin for "I don't know"--was the pen name of J.H.F. GrOnloh, 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.
This is the first English translation of Nescio's stories.
Damion Searls is a writer and a translator of many classic twentieth-century authors, including Proust, Rilke, Robert Walser, Ingeborg Bachmann, and Thomas Bernhard. His translation of Hans Keilson's "Comedy in a Minor Key" was a New York Times Notable Book of 2010 and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. He also edited Henry David Thoreau's "The Journal: 1837-1861," available as an NYRB Classic.
Joseph O'NeilL is the author of three novels, most recently "Netherland" (2008), and of "Blood-Dark Track: A Family History" (2001). Born in Ireland, he spent most of his childhood in the
“His utter simplicity goes hand-in-hand with a great command of humour, irony, matter-of-factness, understatement and sentiment (never sentimtality or self-pity) all of which miraculously balance each other out. . . . Nescio is essentially a lyricist, a poet writing in prose.” —Dutch Foundation for Literature
“In every respect the work of Nescio represents an exception to the calm, bourgeois realism of the early twentieth century. . . . He was arguably the most non-conformist writer of his time. . . . In his stories Nescio created a number of extraordinary characters, who have become legendary in Dutch culture.” —Theo Hermans, A Literary History of the Low Countries
“Though he published few stories, his position in Dutch literature is a very special one.” —Cassell’s Encyclopedia of World 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