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Head of Zeus
The Interpreter from Java
The Interpreter from Java Alfred Birney, translated by David Doherty

Alan Nolan discovers his father's memoirs and learns the truth about the violent man he despised.

In this unsparing family history, Alan distils his father's life in the Dutch East Indies into one furious utterance. He reads about his work as an interpreter during the war with Japan, his life as an assassin, and his decision to murder Indonesians in the service of the Dutch without any conscience. How he fled to the Netherlands to escape being executed as a traitor and met Alan's mother soon after. As he reads his father's story Alan begins to understand how war transformed his father into the monster he knew.

Birney exposes a crucial chapter in Dutch and European history that was deliberately concealed behind the ideological facade of postwar optimism. Readers of this superb novel will find that it reverberates long afterwards in their memory.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Fiction
04 Jun 2020 * 542pp * £7.99 * 9781788544313
REVIEWS
'A masterly novel about the violence of colonialism, the war of decolonisation, the repatriation of the collaborators and the consequences all of this has had on the families of those involved'
De Groener Amsterdammer
'Birney mercilessly exposes a crucial part of Dutch history. This masterful novel will echo in the minds of its readers'
De Volkskrant
'What a great novel, its language and storytelling so light but also raw and lyrical. A tremendous writer. Read this book'
Adriaan van Dis, author of My Father's War and Betrayal
Author
Alfred Birney
Alfred Birney
Alfred Birney was born in 1951. For The Interpreter from Java he was awarded the Libris Literature Prize, the Netherlands' premier literary award, and the Henriëtte Roland Holst Prize. He lives in the Netherlands but speaks English fluently and will be coming to the UK for publication.
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