A. L. Snijders

Dutch writer

photo by Paul van Puffelen

A. L. Snijders

A. L. Snijders (b. 1937) has become a master of “zkvs” (“zeer korte verhalen” or “very short stories”—a term he invented). In 2010 he was awarded the Constantijn Huygens Prize, one of the most important literary prizes in Holland, in recognition of his work as a whole and especially his “zkvs.”

cover image of the book Night Train

Night Train

by A. L. Snijders

Translated by Lydia Davis

  • Translated from the Dutch and with an introduction by Lydia Davis

Gorgeously translated by Lydia Davis, the miniature stories of A. L. Snijders might concern a lost shoe, a visit with a bat, fears of travel, a dream of a man who has lost a glass eye: uniting them is their concision and their vivacity. Lydia Davis in her introduction delves into her fascination with the pleasures and challenges of translating from a language relatively new to her. She also extolls Snijders’s “straightforward approach to storytelling, his modesty and his thoughtfulness.”

Selected from many hundreds in the original Dutch, the stories gathered here—humorous, or bizarre, or comfortingly homely—are something like day-book entries, novels-in-brief, philosophical meditations, or events recreated from life, but—inhabiting the borderland between fiction and reality—might best be described as autobiographical mini-fables.

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