Nominated by:

De Bibliotheek Eindhoven, The Netherlands

The Libraries of The Hague, The Netherlands

De Bibliotheek Utrecht, The Netherlands

Sølvberget, Stavanger bibliotek og kulturhus, Norway

Publisher of nominated edition:

Pushkin Press, UK


Inge Schilperoord      

Translated from the Dutch by David Colmer

Jonathan has returned from prison to his almost deserted, run-down neighbourhood. He has returned to his mother, to his dog, to filing the days with walks on the dunes and caring for the fish he keeps in an aquarium in his bedroom – struggling, like him, to survive the oppressive summer heat. But there is  a young girl with a chipped front tooth living next door, and feelings he thought forgotten are coming back to Jonathan. His growing obsession with her threatens to overwhelm his whole life, as well as hers, but he is determined to make the most of this second chance he has been given. He is determined not to let it happen again.Tench is criminal psychologist inge Schilperoord’s daring first novel: unnerving, morally complicated and utterly gripping, it moves brilliantly through true darkness.

About the author

Inge Schilperoord is a Dutch criminal psychologist. She also works as an editor and reviewer for a number of newspapers and magazines. Tench, her first novel, won the Bronze Owl Prize for best debut, was shortlisted for four other major prizes in the Netherlands and Belgium, and was a five-time book of the year in the Dutch press.

(from publisher)

Librarians’ comments

One sunny morning, the narrator Jonathan is released from prison to return to his elderly mother in her sad house by the North Sea. All we are told about his crime is that he is spared from compulsory psychiatric treatment, due to lack of evidence. However, he is instructed by his psychologist to record his experiences and feelings.

Tench is criminal psychologist Inge Schilperood’s daring first novel. A portrait of a good man with harmful desires – far more chilling and infinitely more tragic than a portrait of a monster. Tench won de Bronzen Uil 2015 and was nominated for ECI Literatuurprijs, Libris Lieratuur Prijs, Fintro Literaturrprijs, Opzi Literatuurprijs. ANV Debutantenprijs and the Anton Wachterprijs.

Meet Jonathan, freed from prison, returns to his hometown. He was convicted for child abuse. Back with his mother he meets Elke, a little girl with whom he becomes more and more obsessed. Can he resist temptation? Haunting, oppressive debut with a psychological portrait of a troubled man. Chilling because you don’t want to have any sympathy for him, but you have to, because the writer demands it.

This is a dark story about a man struggling with illegal feelings for a child, being without treatment and alone, trying to control himself. And it is also a story about a neglected child in need of love. A rare book about love and the fear of abuse.

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