About the author
Hans Vervoort (Magelang, 1939) belongs to the last generation of Dutch writers who spent their youth in the Dutch East Indies. In 1953, when he was fourteen years of age, his family returned to the Netherlands or Shiverland as he likes to call it. He started writing as a remedy against the longing for his homeland. Since 1970 he wrote a total of 18 novels, short story bundles and travel stories. A lot of these have the Indies as background. Rob Nieuwenhuys, nestor of the Dutch Colonial Literature paid attention to the early work of Vervoort in Mirror of the Indies (1982, page 320-323).
Read a short story by Hans Vervoort here:
A short story about an adventurous evening in Soerabaja in the fifties. Translated by James Brockway and published in the English literary magazine Panurge in 1985
Farewell to the Indies (2013) (free download!!!)
This is the translation of Weg uit Indië. Free of charge downloadable as ePub, Kindle or PDF-file. Click on the cover and scroll down to the English edition to download and/or to read a chapter.
Translation: Michele Hutchison
Cover and illustrations: Peter van Dongen
See a review.
Hans and Sonya are living in the lovely sunny Dutch East Indies when war breaks out. Holland has been occupied by the Germans, their parents tell them, but the Indies will certainly remain free. Of course, the Japanese army does want to conquer the Indies, but everyone knows that the Japanese have crooked eyes so they can't shoot straight. And their tanks are made of tin! What a shock when the Japanese army does conquer the Indies in 1942. Hans and Sonya end up with their mother in a camp where people are hit and each day they must fight against hunger and illness. When Japan is beaten three years later, they are freed and hear how difficult life has been for families outside the camps. And then a new adventure begins right away. The Dutch have ruled the Indies for three hundred years but now the locals don't want that anymore. They revolt, people die and danger lurks everywhere. Everyone flees and Hans and Sonya must say farewell to the Indies too. A dangerous journey begins. Will they make it?
A note on the English translation:
Many people who grew up in the Dutch East Indies emigrated immediately after the war during the Bersiap period, or when Dutch sovereignty was transferred to the Indonesian government in 1949. They left for the USA, Australia, New Zealand or elsewhere. Many of these emigrants and expats now have children or grandchildren who do not read Dutch. My book Weg uit Indië (Farewell to the Indies) might be useful in helping them tell their (grand-)children what happened in the Dutch East Indies during the Japanese invasion and the turbulent years after the war. This is why I asked Michele Hutchison (professional translator) to translate it into English and used part of my savings to pay for this project.
A never told story about a forgotten period after WW II and a gruesome discovery in the mountains of Java
Translated from the Dutch original 'Dodentocht in de bergen' by Willem ten Wolde.