Pushkin Press has published a translation by Paul Vincent of J.J. Slauerhoff’s canonical novel Het verboden rijk (1932). This is the first translation into English of this story of passion and soul-searching. The story is set on the high seas and transports the reader from west to east and across the centuries. Slauerhoff explores in The Forbidden Kingdom not only the colonial relationship between China and Europe, but also the power of poetry.
According to the publisher:
“The Forbidden Kingdom is fascinatingly reminiscent of both David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The novel tells the stories of two men, two ‘lost souls’, and their journeys into the interior of the ‘Forbidden Kingdom’—a Kingdom both real (China) and existential (love, life). One man is a troubled 20th century ship’s radio operator, the other the real life 16th century poet, Luis Camões, banished from Lisbon to the Portuguese colony of Macao in China. After the radio operator’s ship lands in Macao, his consciousness begins to merge with that of Camões, and boundaries between past and present begin to crumble.”