Finders, keepers

A few weeks ago I cycled past a shop called Normal Gets You Nowhere in The Hague. Seeing those four simple words painted on the shop window made me smile. How awesome, I thought. I had a similar sentiment at the book presentation of Ilona Verhoeven’s Voor de Eerlijke Vinder at the Torpedo Theatre in Amsterdam. It was an evening of stories by Ilona Verhoeven and music by Hans van Koolwijk and Danibal. I felt incredibly inspired by this celebration of individuality, uniqueness and eccentricity. By the time I got back home, I had finished her book, and felt like a skylight had been added to my roof. Her short stories are fantastic, both literally and figuratively. They are miniature tales about humans, animals, and inanimate objects – like a flying poppy seed challah. I particularly loved finding sensical nonsense (“Mogelijk”), shared childhood dreams (“Flora was hier”), and things that remain hidden (“In een tuin gevonden”).