Several readers insisted that I read Van Hassel, whose work regularly features on long and shorts lists for Dutch literary awards.
This nightmarish account of a woman trapped alone in her home by a blizzard first triggered my claustrophobia before opening the door to even darker misery, all mapped out in evocative and intricate detail.Walking back to the kitchen, I am chilled to the bone. I hear droplets falling the sink. Back home, my mother would turn open the silver taps and let the water trickle into the bath, to stop the pipes from freezing up. My survival strategy is limited: I glance in the pantry cupboard, I count the logs, I drag my mattress into the kitchen. Maybe I should shove the snow off the roof before it comes crashing down. Maybe I should shut off the main valve. Hank knows where that is.
The title story from a collection published by the Bezige Bij in 2005. This version was published in Tirade, 2001, Vol.45. Full story in Dutch is online here