The Laws

Originally published in Holland by Prometheus, The Laws is an audicious first novel that sold over 150,000 copies in the year of it appearance, 1991.

Over a period of seven years, while she is a student, a young woman encounters seven men: an astrologer, an epileptic, a philospher, a priest, a physicist, an artist and a psychiatrist. Through them, and the laws they have chosen to live by, she seeks to penetrate the meanings that seem to underpin the certainities of an uncertain world. By electing tot investigate a woman’s sense of self and self-development by means of an almost exclusive reference to men, Connie Palmen triumphantly traverses the world of both sexes. An extraordinary succes in Europe, The Laws is an unconventional love story, a fertile novel of ideas, and a brilliantly conceived story of discovery and self-discovery.

“The words, ideas and opinions of others, their laws, their morality, their science, have intoxicated me. My spirit has been raped in fact. And I just let it happen, invited it: I was giving the glad-eye like blazes.”


The Laws is a triumph not of meaning, but of mystery. This duality gives it a singularity that sweetens and embitters, that spices the tale with the promise of paradox and surprise. It is a bracing fictional debut.”
– Tom Adair, The Independent

“The Laws is winner of the 1992 Eurepean Novel of the Year; expect other accolades to follow. This book is a gem.”
-Eloise Kinney, Booklist

“A probing, disturbing vision. Sophisticated and intensely perceptive: a well-crafted, haunting analysis of the creative process and desire – a portrait of the artist a a young woman.’
Kirkus Reviews

“One does not expect a novel to have this kind of energy and voice. Palmen’s tale is provocative, discerning, elusive.”
– Roz Spafford, San Francisco Chronicle

“The heroine’s self-understanding, self-image, and ability to observe and respond with paradoxical act makes her e memorabel character. A charming, enjoyable novel; recommended for serrious literature collections.”
Library Journal

The Laws is winner of the 1992 European Novel of the Year Award; expect other accolades to follow. This book is a gem.”

The Laws is an entertaining, if sinewy, read, seasoned with a piquant irony. It is an intriguing book.”
– Angus Clark, The European