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Unrequited love of the artist as a young man

Cardboard Boxes

Tom Lanoye

In ‘Cardboard Boxes’ Lanoye has managed to deal with the banal subject of a boy's unrequited love in a thoroughly unbanal way. This auto-biographical story retains its power because it is imbedded in the hilarious background of a childhood in Flanders around 1970: the sketches of the four women who raised him, his obsession with masturbation and the splendid characterisations of the priests who taught at his Catholic school.

Original, particularly funny and full of amusing melancholy
NRC Handelsblad

With his rich, melancholic style Lanoye has been able to create a modest monument for his first `touching' romance. A convincing story on all counts.

In addition to the wonderful personalities Lanoye manages to portray, he shows the regressive tolerance of the Christian education system towards youth in the face of mass disaffection. These asides in a book ostensibly about a boyhood infatuation reveal the author's serious concerns.

The touching strength of this `banal love' is turned in an entertaining book to be read with affection.
Vrij Nederland