Bemoaning the hand that fate has dealt him, a disillusioned Formula 1 mechanic resolves to challenge God himself in a quest for cosmic justice
It is the Monaco Grand Prix in May 1968. Jack Preston, a mechanic for Team Sutton, is making the final checks on his car as the beau monde mingles with the drivers under the eyes of the world's press and the galleries of spectators. DeeDee, a starlet of great beauty, seems to be walking towards him, or perhaps towards the royal box. Without warning a fireball rips across the starting grid. Preston will always bear the scars as a consequence of his unthinking heroism, his saving the life and the beauty of the girl, but details of the accident remain vague - no photographs capturing the moment have come to light.
Weeks later, Preston emerges from hospital and goes home to his wife in a remote English village from which the drab atmosphere of the 1950s has yet to recede. There, as he slowly recovers, he awaits word from his employers and some sign of DeeDee's gratitude, an acknowledgment that it was he who saved her life.
This is an unsettlingly beautiful story of obsession by an acknowledged master of classical restraint.
Translated from the Dutch by David Doherty
You don't even need to make a list to see that Peter Terrin is one of the handful of truly interesting authors writing in Dutch. - NRC Handelsblad.
A flawless novel . . . Monte Carlo is a small masterpiece. - De Tijd.
Terrin raises the bar of Flemish literature slightly higher still with this jewel that glitters like a freshly cut diamond. Astonishingly perfect. - Knack.
Peter Terrin represents a unique voice in contemporary literature, touching on universal and highly topical themes. He is considered by critics to be a literary maverick, a classic writer and a masterful stylist. He is also an avid collector of vintage typewriters. He won a European Literature Prize for The Guard, and the AKO Literatuurprijs for Post Mortem.