‘I’m happy if you are,’ you might say, ‘but first of all: what’s a bloody parvenu?’ Well, it’s an upstart, an arriviste, a person who has risen to a higher status but has not been socially accepted by others in that class. ‘Not one of us,’ they’d say. Like Tom, the Talented Mr. Ripley. Like you, maybe. Or Chris, in Woody Allen’s Match Point.
Or like Hugo Stadman, the main character in my book. A thirty-something banker in Amsterdam, who thinks that membership of the prestigious Batavia Club holds the key to getting ahead in the world. But Hugo has much to hide, including his family background and his own far from impeccable behaviour. The Rise & Fall of Hugo Stadman.
Last Valentine’s Day, only five months ago, De Parvenu, the Dutch original, was published, and my oh my, wasn’t that a great day for the Netherlands! People queuing, almost fighting, sometimes waiting for hours to get their copy of De Parvenu. It’s topped the charts ever since, it’s been voted Book of the Year – and it’s not even August!
Okay, I’m slightly exaggerating here, but the book is already in its third printing, and the reviews have been great: ‘The Parvenu is a novel about the longing to be someone you’re not, about human fallibility, love and addiction,’ one newspaper wrote. ‘Fast-paced and funny, the trials and tribulations of Hugo Stadman are poignant and intriguing.’ Or, as another critic said: ‘American Psycho meets About the Boy.’ And last month, Eyeworks, Holland’s most successful film production company, acquired the movie rights to the book.
So yes, I’m happy. You will be too when you read my book. The Parvenu, for sale as an e-book, at Amazon.com, at Amazon.co.uk, at Amazon.de or through iBooks (US, UK, France, Germany, Canada and Australia), for $4.99 – more or less for free.