Nominated by:

Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, The Netherlands

De Bibliotheek Eindhoven, The Netherlands

The Libraries of The Hague, The Netherlands

De Bibliotheek Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publisher of nominated edition:

Pushkin Press, UK

Bonita Avenue

Peter Buwalda    

Translated from the Dutch by Jonathan Reeder

2016 Longlist

A darkly hilarious tale of a model family’s disintegration.

Professor Siem Sigerius – maths genius, jazz lover, judo champion, Renaissance man. When Aaron meets his girlfriend Joni’s family for the first time, her multitalented father could hardly be a more intimidating figure, but somehow the underachieving photographer manages to bluff his way to a friendship with the paterfamilias. With his feet under the table at the beautiful Sigerius farmhouse, Aaron feels part of the family. A perfect family.

Until, that is, things start to go wrong in a very big way. A cataclysmic explosion in a firework factory, the advent of internet pornography, the reappearance of a forgotten murderer and a jet-black-wig all play a role in the spectacular fragmentation of the Sigerius clan… and of Aaron’s fragile psyche.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Born in Brussels in 1971, Peter Buwalda is a Dutch novelist, formerly a journalist, editor at several publishers, and founder of the literary music magazine Wah-Wah. Bonita Avenue is his debut novel. Published in 2010 to critical acclaim, it was shortlisted for twelve prizes, going on to win the Academica Prize, the Selexyz Debut Prize, the Tzum Prize, the Anton Wachter Prize and the Leesclubboek van het jaar. It spent two years on the bestseller lists, and has since been translated into seven languages.

Librarians’ Comments

Stunning debut. A family drama about math, judo, sex and death. An intriguing plot which leads to inevitable disaster. The story is told in various flashbacks, in the end everything falls into place. This novel has won various prizes and has been translated in to 12 languages. Probably the best debut the Netherlands has seen in a decade! An impressive work, in its construction and actual volume.

Elements of his past threaten the stability in the life and the family of a brilliant professor of mathematics. An explosion in a fireworks factory adds to the chaos.

A psychological and moral novel about major themes such as death, jealously, revenge, guilt and sexuality. It is a Dutch bestseller and prize winner; reviewers have compared Buwalda to Jonathan Franzen.

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