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The perilous existence of a young refugee


Elvis Peeters

A boy who does not know his own age grows up in an unnamed village where war threatens. His family bides their time, waiting for a chance to flee. His mother and three younger sisters are the first to leave. Along with his father and older brother and sister, the nameless protagonist is left behind: they still need to scrape together the money to pay the human traffickers. But then, the supermarket at which the boy works is bombed into the ground. Leaving is now the only option. Gradually, the family is pulled apart, and eventually they completely lose track of each other.

Peeters is back with his razor-sharp prose
De Morgen

For the protagonist, survival is everything. On some levels, he has to grow up far too quickly. Simultaneously, he struggles with puberty and the accompanying nascent sexual feelings that he does not know how to deal with. Then a New Year’s Eve celebration comes around. Barrages of fireworks are going off in the sky, a throng of people surrounds him, a girl stands close by, and his hand ends up in between her legs. European society was already alien and unfriendly to him. Will he have to fly completely under the radar now, creep like a shadow along the facades, and give up his dream of becoming a baker?

In confident, crystal-clear language, ‘Bread’ tells the gripping, poetic coming-of-age story of a boy who is not given the chance to enjoy his youth.

Haunting. With short chapters, Elvis Peeters keeps the reader in a stranglehold.
Cutting Edge
A traditional narrative with a clear, poetic style
De Standaard