Latest Articles, Columns, Short Stories

‘I hope the quota for dead children has been reached. That death has claimed enough of them.”

 The words belong to Dutch-born Princeton novelist and essayist Pia de Jong.They were what she had hoped for on the day she went to purchase a gravesite for her newborn daughter. Now they appear in de Jong’s just released book, “Saving Charlotte: A Mother and the Power of Intuition.”

“I started writing (the book) with the scene of the grave,” de Jong says about her 255-page personal account of discovering her daughter, Charlotte, had congenital myeloid leukemia — a disease without any cure —and the decision to spare the infant from the debilitating effects of chemotherapy and “wait for what will come.” What came was the body’s ability to fight off the disease.

Share this article

Every night I dream about the little girl growing within me. She takes different shapes, forms and colors. Sometimes she has brown hair and hazel eyes…At night she sometimes appears to me
as an old woman…She sits in her room among all the precious things she has collected throughout her life…”

Share this article

In Pia de Jong’s gorgeous memoir, the author and her husband learn that their newborn Charlotte has incurable leukemia. Instead of opting for high-risk, probably futile treatment, they bring the
baby back to their Amsterdam house and shower her with love. Faith healers and naysayers descend, but there are also friends and a never-give-up doctor by their side. Astonishingly, Charlotte blossoms rather than fades; she’s now a healthy teen. A ravishing reminder of life’s mysteries—and miracles.

Share this article
-Petey Greene Eliane
Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

It’s Friday afternoon. Students in various shades of preppy colors are pouring out of the university’s gates for the weekend. The patios in front of the restaurants are buzzing with cocktail chatter; there’s a long line at the movie theater. But I am climbing a rickety staircase in a two-story clapboard building just off Nassau Street. There, amid the disarray in a rabbit warren of small offices, I will talk to two university students who once a week leave their manicured campus to spend a day behind bars tutoring young men and women who are their age but who are held in a nearby prison.

Share this article

The Princeton Syndrome

The Princeton Echo

-Princeton Syndrome Eliane
Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

The man who just asked me the way to Einstein’s office suffers from the
Princeton Syndrome, which afflicts its victims with delusions of genius.

Share this article

On a still summer night in Amsterdam’s old quarter, Pia de Jong gives birth to a delicate, bright-eyed baby girl with a riddle on her back―a pale blue spot that soon multiplies. Soon, a doctor reveals the devastating answer: it is a rare and deadly form of leukemia, often treated with chemotherapy, a cure nearly as dangerous to a newborn as the disease itself. Pia and her husband Robbert decide not to subject Charlotte to chemotherapy. Instead, they transform their canal house into a sanctuary where Charlotte can live surrounded by love, where Pia can give her a chance to live. In return, Charlotte gives her mother the greatest gift of all: purpose.

Share this article

The Perfect Egg

Thrive Global

-Screen Shot 2017 05 14 At 4 32 28 Pm

Every morning at breakfast, ever since the day she first started using sentences with a verb, my daughter has told me her dreams. Breakfast is always an egg, cooked to her preference of six-and-one-half minutes. That is, if the egg has been out of the refrigerator long enough. If I forget to take the egg out the night before, I try to gauge the extra twenty seconds it needs to get it just the way she likes.

Share this article

I'm Nobody! Who are you?

US 1 Newspaper

-Emily Dickinson Eliane
Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

The exhibition I’m Nobody! Who are you? about the poet Emily Dickinson in the New York Morgan Library is deceptively simple. In just a few steps you can cross the small room that contains it. But this is an exhibition that slows down space and time. Just like her poems.

Share this article

Parting Shot: The Invisibles

The Princeton Echo

-The Invisibles Eliane
Illustration by Eliane Gerrits

Princeton has a large Latino community. But none of the white elite knows their stories, or even their names. These are the invisible Princetonians. How would the town function without them?

Share this article
Saving Charlotte: A Mother and the Power of Intuition

Now Available for Pre-order

Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-A-Million iBooks IndieBound
Pub Date: July 11, 2017
Sign up to receive occasional updates from Pia about her books, articles, and appearances.