Gaby den Held - Biography

GABY DEN HELD
           
                         
BIOGRAPHY 
NEDERLANDS
The literary Fellini of the Low Countries
  
First there are the images, then the words. Before I write I see the fragment for me as a movie scene. It’s no surprise that I’m particularly influenced by the movies. I love the films by Alex van Warmerdam, François Ozon, Roman Polanski and David Lynch. But Federico Fellini has influenced me most. Like Fellini I want to create a slightly caricatural dream world that gives reality a brighter color. That does not deny the ruthlessness of life, but places it in a different light. And so typically Italian as Fellini's films are, so typically Dutch, is the setting in my stories. But I add colors, and place tragic clowns in it. Dutch anti-heroes with panache. Outsiders who were bullied in the schoolyard as a kid. Because they have red hair. Because they don’t play football. Because they are boys who feel like a girl or vice versa. But they have rebounded. They go through life with their heads held high. They remember that statement of ballet legend Sonia Gaskell: If you fall, always make something of it.


Literature:
Arnon Grunberg, Louis Couperus, Wolfgang Herrndorf, Edgar Allen Poe, Louis Aragon, Mikhail Bulgakov, Jan Potocki, Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly

​Film:
Federico Fellini, Peter Greenaway, Guillermo del Toro, Alex van Warmerdam, François Ozon, Xavier Dolan, Roman Polanski, David Lynch. 

Music:
J.S. Bach, Sigur Rós, Patrick Wolf, Diamanda Galás, Olivier Messiaen, De Staat, Philip Glass, Wim Mertens, Dead Can Dance, Perfume Genius
"You write stories, do you?" a friend said. "Why don’t you write it all up and 
do something with it?" That "something" has slowly grown into a story in 
which the sometimes harsh reality is mixed with a fairy tale. The story is about 
Ángel Flores who is tragically in love with CHARLIE DARK. 

The foundation was laid for his personal style: succinct and clear prose with a 
complex storyline. The atmosphere is imaginative and fairytale-like with a 
penchant for the extravagant. But how bizarre and grotesque the stories 
sometimes may seem, they always have one foot in reality, like in a magical 
realist painting. Deceptively lighthearted and naturally heavy themes are covered 
as gender dysphoria, sexual fluidity, sexual harassment, suicide, perpetratorship 
and victimhood.

Maan: not exactly the typical teenage love story

After he wrote Charlie Dark he began on his second novel MAAN (Moon).
This would ultimately be his debut as a published novelist. The theme
is self-determination and individual freedom, wrapped in a story about an 
impossible love. As a main character he chose the trans woman Maan who 
wants to make her own choices on all aspects of life. If Maan is still a boy he 
lives with his eccentric mother, Saskia, the widow of the wealthy merchant 
Lambert Humalda, in a big house on the edge of the Frisian Dantumadiel. 
Rick is in love with the beautiful Maan, but becomes confused when he tells 
him that he is really a girl. 


Reünie: a tragicomedy about revenge

He decided to keep his firstling, Charlie Dark, in the drawer and began a new novel, a tragicomedy about revenge: REÜNIE (Reunion).

Dorian Pots arrives on a sunny May day in Diepenheim, the city of his youth. He intends to start a new life with his old puppy love Jasper van Vliet. But then he sees Titus Balkenhol on the terrace of cafe Boonk, wearing a blue polka dot dress. This willy-nilly old school chum, the clown of the class, tells him: "See you tonight at the reunion of our old school class." A reunion? Why does Dorian knows nothing about it? His former classmates have more surprises in store.


Alex Stanovsky: never ending train journey

​He is now working on ideas for a next novel. This will be about a young man who takes the train to a job interview. It appears that the office where he will have that interview is in the train. In fact, the train turns out to be a world in itself, where he may never come out.

Gaby's debut novel MAAN was published November 2015 and REÜNIE will appear autumn 2017, both by publisher IJZER.

As long as he can remember he writes stories. He has written poems and participated in a poetry platform, Poetry Alive! He has also written culinary articles, restaurant reviews and travelogues (2002-2009). He didn’t think of writing a novel. Until a traumatic event knocked him over...