BOOK SERIES
The Power of Literature in the Changing World
AUTHOR
Anna Enquist

Homecoming

TRANSLATOR
Radovan Lučić
Description

In the novel "Homecoming," Dutch author Anna Enquist weaves historical events into the story of the family of the navigator and explorer James Cook, narrated from the perspective of his wife, Elizabeth Batts. Behind Captain Cook's outstanding achievements and fame in the second half of the 18th century lies the layered and trauma-marked yet incredibly resilient life of his wife. Like every sailor's wife, her everyday life is marked by the anticipation of news and the wait for his return. Through the rich inner life of the heroine and her constant self-examination, we also glimpse into the intimate world of James Cook, revealing his vulnerability and shedding the historical invincibility attributed to him.

 

The story begins with the early shared years of Elizabeth and James Cook, offering a warm and dynamic portrayal of the lives of their six children – some of whom die in their early years, with none outliving their mother – providing depth and breadth to human existence that is often reduced to a few lines in history. Witnessing the deaths of her loved ones, Elizabeth had to rediscover herself countless times and find a reason to continue living. Thus, her story becomes a different kind of exploration, delving into the core of human existence and survival. Thanks to this emancipated, intelligent, and brave heroine, we enter history more deeply and passionately than even the most diligent historians or chroniclers of that era could provide. Lives in the novel span between the gardens along the river Thames and the vastness of the ocean, with each approach to the shore, even one yet to be charted on the map, being a kind of return home.

In this novel, Anna Enquist brilliantly depicts the psychological portrait of Elizabeth Batts, a strong and independent woman ahead of her time..

AUTHOR
Anna Enquist
Anna  Enquist (1945) is one of the most esteemed Dutch writers. She studied piano at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and psychology at Leiden University. In 1991, while working as a psychoanalyst, she published a collection of poems titled "Solatenliederen" (Soldier Songs), for which she received the C. Buddingh Award for the best debut poetry. Since then, she has mainly devoted herself to writing. Her first two prose works, "Het meesterstuk" (The Masterpiece, 1995) and "Het geheim" (The Secret, 1997), are psychological novels in which classical music plays a central role. In 2005, she published the significant historical novel "De thuiskomst" (Homecomig), depicting the life of Elizabeth Batts, the wife of James Cook. She received the French Prix du Livre Corderie Royale-Hermione for this novel. In her novels, she often combines the realms of psychology and classical music in a particularly exciting way, which has brought her a broad audience, both in the Netherlands and beyond.
TRANSLATOR
Radovan Lučić
Radovan Lučić  was born in 1963 in Zagreb. As a twenty-two-year-old, he left his homeland to try his luck in the Netherlands. In 1995, he earned a master's degree in Slavic Studies at the University of Amsterdam. In addition to regular translation activities, he is involved in applied linguistics, primarily lexicography. He is the author of the Croatian-Dutch Dictionary (Pegasus, Amsterdam, 2013; Dominović, Zagreb, 2014). He has translated works by Dutch and Flemish authors such as Willem Frederik Hermans, Cees Nooteboom, Annie M. G. Schmidt, Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Dimitri Verhulst, Geert Mak, and others. He works as an assistant professor of the Croatian language at the University of Amsterdam. In his free time, he plays the cimbalom.