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Unrequited love of the gay artist as a young man

Cardboard Boxes

Tom Lanoye

In ‘Cardboard Boxes’ Lanoye treats the mundane subject of an adolescent boy’s unrequited love for one of his male classmates in a thoroughly unmundane way. This autobiographical coming-of-age memoir is set against the hilarious background of a childhood in Flanders around 1970:  the four women who raised him, his obsession with masturbation, and the merciless depiction of the priests who taught at his Catholic school.

Original, funny and amusingly melancholic
NRC Handelsblad

With his rich, melancholic style, Lanoye has created a monument to his first romance and to his own struggle with his budding homosexuality. It is a convincing story on all counts.

In addition to portraying an array of wonderful personalities, Lanoye also exposes the regressive, head-in-the-sand policies of a church-run education system in the face of mass discontentment. The comic digressions connect boyhood desires and the author’s more serious societal concerns.

This story of ‘mundane love’ is turned into a touching, strong and entertaining book.
Vrij Nederland