Claire Polders is a Dutch author of four novels.
Her short prose appeared in Denver Quarterly (nominated for a Pushcart Prize), TriQuarterly, Okey-Panky (Electric Literature), Tin House (online), Green Mountains Review, Connotation Press, and New World Writing. She was runner-up in the Bat City Review contest and has new stories and essays forthcoming in Room Magazine, The Pinch, Heavy Feather Review, and The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review.
Her debut novel in English is represented by Marie Lamba.
Born in Gouda (yes, from the cheese), Claire grew up just outside Rotterdam, seven meters below sea level. She earned a double Master’s in Literature and Philosophy (with honors) and studied a semester at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Claire is married to an American writer. Together they divide their time between The Netherlands, France, and the United States.
Curious as to why Claire writes in English?
Find the answer in her short essay published by Fiction Southeast: “The Writer and her Time.”
NOVELS IN DUTCH
What happens when the strong bonds of friendship unravel into illusions and lies?
Infallible is the story of Amber Braam, a keen and curious girl from Amsterdam, filled with open-eyed expectations. In Paris, she encounters the thrilling persona of Cleo, a gorgeous Dutch woman; a powerful force pulls them together: Cleo the infallible, Amber the ambitious.
Together they set off for New York where Cleo’s charms prevail over every obstacle the city has in store for them. As their friendship deepens, Cleo encourages Amber to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a photographer. While Amber’s fantasies are being realized, they are also undermined. Slowly she unmasks her friend and mentor to be a master of deception. Cleo’s life turns out to be a lie based on a virtual identity she created on the internet.
When Amber discovers the final shocking secret behind their success, she returns to Amsterdam alone, and immerses herself in photography. But she is lost without Cleo’s charms, and begins to twist the truth like her mentor for personal and professional gain. How can she condemn lying when it brings such benefits? Amber races to find Cleo and reunite their lives, but during her absence Cleo’s fate has taken a tragic turn. All along, it was Amber’s unconditional love that made Cleo infallible.
Infallible is the fascinating story of two women lost in an intense and mysterious friendship. What is identity in a world where truth has lost its absolute value and life and fiction are no longer distinguishable?
Acclaim for Infallible
“Infallible is an admirable achievement. Claire Polders’ first novel is an intriguing, serious and ambitious work… everything a great debut is supposed to be!”– Leidsch Dagblad.
“Infallible is surely no ordinary novel. Its philosophical maze possesses a depth that makes it stunning. I recommend this book to everyone.”– www.boekboek.nl
“Infallible captures the heart and mind! A stirring story with a philosophical edge. A very strong debut! I would be astonished if Claire Polders disappears into oblivion.” – Metro
“Infallible is an extraordinary novel. It’s captivating style and fast moving plot are well constructed.”– 8weekly.nl
“Polders’ style is fluid and light; no long drawn sentences, no far-fetched metaphors, but a direct language where images clearly take shape. At the hand of Polders, this story cannot be told enough!”– Folia
“Once I picked up Infallible I couldn’t put it down. I read it in one breath. Why was it so enthralling? Two incredible main characters-both mysterious, yet with a strange familiarity.”– Henk Pröpper, Director of the Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature.
“Polders surely doesn’t lack talent. Her fashionable début is a story for all times.” (Regional newspapers)
“Friends and The City? Not exactly. The Infallible is an intelligent novel about morphing identities and people who are not what they think or pretend to be.” ( SP!TS)
“Polders knows how to kidnap the reader’s attention!” (Biblion)
The Disappearance of Eva Zomers
Marga, a young biographer, moves into a painter’s loft in Paris to finish her book on the disappearance of the legendary novelist Eva Zomers. She encounters old Lucien, a reclusive and troublesome painter. Marga lures Lucien from his solitude and in exchange, he introduces her into a magical world of art and inspiration. An unlikely but intense friendship evolves.
When Lucien passes away, he leaves Marga his atelier. There she finds hundreds of canvases portraying the life span of just one couple. Who are they and why has Lucien painted them? Clues lead her to a small village in Italy and to the very same couple in the paintings. Her journey and the teachings of Lucien, uncover a fantastic secret within Marga that solves the mystery of the disappearance and re-appearance of Eva Zomers.
Acclaim for The Disappearance of Eva Zomers
“Polders clearly shows that she has storytelling abilities which she combines in an exceptional way with philosophical wisdom and a talent for depicting characters. Go and read this!” – ELLE
“‘A mysterious and beautifully constructed coming-of-age novel about writing, friendship, imagination & reality.”– Brabants Dagblad
“A well-composed and complicated plot with different perspectives, times and places. It’s full of tension, quests and riddles, but the story remains easy to follow thanks to Polders’ flowing style.”– NBD|Biblion
“Ingeniously plotted! Polders knows how to draw your attention and keep you interested. She is erudite, knows her history and contemplates art in all its facets. It’s a pleasure to read the work of a writer who loves to put her readers under a spell.” – www.vrijzinnighumanisme.be
“Once again an ambitious novel, once again the urge to ask philosophical questions and once again Polders is not embarrassed to show she has knowledge of Camus and other existentialists.” – Leidsch Dagblad
“Polders plans her ideas thoroughly. She quotes from the works of a fictitious author, creates a website to suggest the author’s existence and even includes a fake bibliography in the back of the book. No coincidence, because the imagination is one of the novel’s main themes.”– De Volkskrant
“She wrote a novel that keeps me thinking.” – De Groene Amsterdammer
“Fascinating content […] a beautiful story […] a worthwhile read.” – BLVD – Claire Polders was also mentioned in the BLVD of February as one of the top 100 most promising women of The Netherlands.
Publisher: De Geus
Five women. Five strangers. Five leaps into the unknown.
Salto mortale/ n. / (Italian) Death jump: an acrobat’s daring mid-air leap from one trapeze to another.
On a sizzling day in August five women arrive at a deserted medieval castle looking forward to a stimulating summer of renovation: a stage actress, a disturbed teenager, a dominant entrepreneur, an undercover journalist and a middle-aged maiden. When the instructor fails to appear, they are caught in a dilemma; linger or move on? It’s the castle with its abundance of mirrors, whispering rooms and idyllic aura of neglect, that lures them to stay.
Soon after, mysterious messages appear on the walls, ceilings, windows and floors. Paint me, break me, open me, tear me away… As they follow the instructions they enter into a psychological labyrinth. The place seems to share an intimate knowledge of their blacked out secrets.
Furthermore, the enchanted castle is haunted by a past that infiltrates them all. Each character must escape the curse of family guilt and reclaim their freedom with one giant leap into the unknown. It is time for a salto mortale.
Salto Mortale is novel that explores our fear of freedom and the patterns of expectations that constrain us.
Acclaim for Salto Mortale
“What an elegantly written novel from a very gifted and precise author!” (* * * *) – www.nu.nl
“A captivating novel that exposes female behavior in depth.” – De Standaard
“Lives are unraveled in this therapeutic novel.” (* * * *) – Opzij
“The merits of this incredibly absorbing book lie in the successful philosophical passages and its distinct anti-cynical finale.” – De Leeswolf
Publisher: De Geus
After an odyssey of seven years, documenting the world with her camera, Julia Hollander returns to the Dutch polders of her youth, where she is confronted with a double surprise: her young father is terminally ill and the safe haven of her childhood has been transformed into a touristic farce.
Through a curious thread of circumstances, Julia is proven to be responsible for her village’s demise. With the help of a junkman rebel and a trio of witty elders, Julia makes an attempt to scare off the commercial developers and rescue what she holds dear. Although successful at one front, she fails to help her father. How do you connect to a man you cannot understand?
Caught between a love story and the myth of Atlantis, Eternal Fair is a high-spirited novel about authenticity in our hasty world. It also confronts the subject of euthanasia. How do you recognize the right moment to fight or surrender?
Acclaim for Eternal Fair: to be translated.