People were always kidding themselves about their own place in the world. In reality, thought Minnie, all you have is bits and pieces continually dying off and never coming back. You keep vanishing from your own life, over and over without ever saying goodbye to yourself.
This is a uniquely creative story that follows conceptual artist Minnie Panis, through her love affairs, her creative art projects, and her strange relationship with her mother. There is a cold distance between them, and it isn’t until Mini nearly dies, an icy death at that, that the reader dives deep into Minnie’s unusual beginnings. Having been born a pitiful creature, a premature infant that disturbed her mother with her seemingly silent, almost lifeless existence, Minnie’s mother found help through a doctor Johnstone and his experimental clinic. Johnstone was more than your average doctor, he could teach children to cry, a strange concept but not so for a mother desperate to see her child behave as if she were actually a real, living, human being. Strange that Minnie, an artist whose every project seems to be about provoking a reaction, or expressing herself was once so very absent in her own life that her frantic mother was willing to put her fate in a doctor/neonatologist/ hypnotist/ Taoist… ‘among other things’ and not just once. More shocking, why was this vital part of Minnie’s infancy and later, childhood kept from her? Just what was her mother trying to hide, why? This doctor, the man who has saved her life twice, seems to have been a part of her destiny.
How do stolen wallets play into her past? Not everything is explained, because really- if you take any moment in a human’s life there is a black hole of incomprehension. We don’t always know why. As Minnie begins a new art piece, having a photographer capture her life from afar she feels safe exploring her past with the strange doctor, after-all- someone who loved her is always watching with the lens ready. Or is he? “The more you knew, the less you knew; that, tragically, was the trouble with knowledge.” That, dear reader, seems to be the case with Minnie, and often all of us. The more she unravels about her past, the less she seems to be able to turn over and dissect. What exactly does any of it mean? It seems too that her near icy death, at the hands of water, also is a repeat of something that happened in her past. Where does Minnie go when she absents herself? Is her art the way she unknowingly has kept herself present in a world she once didn’t seem to be a part of? And what of her latest project of being photographed as she goes about her day naturally? Could that stem from her mother? “Her daughter always froze and looked wooden when she had to pose for a picture. That is why Minnie’s mother had begun to capture her unobtrusively and “spontaneously” as possible.” Could Minnie’s art be more than expression?
How does Minnie’s origins turn the wheel of her life? This novel touches on how even the things about ourselves that are kept from us still have a way of seeping in and effecting every moment, as if the hands of the past present themselves in building one’s life. In the end, what does Minnie truly understand? What do any of us? Where art leads to more than just ‘self- expression’, and the audience isn’t only fans, but sometimes oneself- The Consequences takes the reader along for a strange journey into the very core of Minnie’s life, one full of art and odd mysteries.
Niña Weijers Winner of the 2014 Anton Wachter Prize for Best First Novel, the Gouden Boekenuil Reader’s Choice Award, the Opzij Prize, and the Lucy B. & C.W. van der Hoogt Prize
Publication Date: September 19, 2017