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Hugo Stadman is a thirty-something private banker in Amsterdam. Membership of the prestigious Batavia Club holds the key to getting ahead in the world, he thinks. But Hugo has much to hide, including his family background and his own far from impeccable behaviour.
The Parvenu is a novel about the longing to be someone you’re not, about human fallibility, love and addiction. Fast-paced and funny, the trials and tribulations of Hugo Stadman are poignant and intriguing.
Mark Schalekamp’s (The Netherlands, 1968) debut in 1997 was the publication of the poem Voetbal & Meisjes in the magazine Hard Gras, followed by De Rebellenclub (Thomas Rap, 2000), a collection of short stories.
He subsequently founded the company Robin Good, a pioneer in the area of socially responsible entrepreneurship. After selling his company Schalekamp became a full-time writer and journalist.
The Parvenu (Arbeiderspers, 2011) was his first novel. In the Netherlands it was a great success, reaching best-sellerstatus in half a year, film rights being purchased by Eyeworks, the Netherlands' leading film producers.
His second book, non-fiction, is about creating your ideal work: Make Work of Your Dream (Business Contact, 2013).
Youropeans! is his latest project. In every EU capital, he interviewed 8 people: a doctor, hairdresser, entrepreneur, sex worker, local celebrity, police officer, immigrant and artist. On www.youropeans.eu he shared their stories, hoping it would contribute to Europe’s social cohesion. This is Europe (Maven, 2016) is a report of this two-year tour d'Europe, published in Dutch and English.
Schalekamp’s company, books and projects have drawn quite a lot of media attention, in the Netherlands and abroad, on TV, radio and in printed media. Schalekamp also writes for several Dutch magazines and newspapers: from columns and opinion pieces to travel stories and interviews.
More than just a pageturner
Tina Pageturner? The Parvenu is much more than that. You start reading and before you know it you are actually sucked in and halfway through a compelling story that is sad and witty at the same time. The great thing is that against better judgment you still have some sympathy and hope for the self-destructive and narcissistic Hugo. With Hugo's clever personality disorders, however, things are not going in the right direction. With enough luck, sensitivity, some bravado and shameless lies, he stays on his feet for a long time, but in the end it turns out to be really an inveterable upstart with which it can only end in one way.