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Getting a grip on harsh reality


Hugo Claus

Hugo Claus is Flanders’ most important post-war author. He not only wrote masterpieces of fiction and poetry, but also ranked among the best as a writer and director for the stage. It was not long before ‘Friday, a play in five acts’ from 1969 was recognised as one of the highlights of his rich theatrical oeuvre.

In all of his texts, Claus defied the culturally and religiously dominant discourse in a Flanders governed by Catholicism and hypocrisy. In ‘Friday’ Georges, convicted for an incestuous relationship with his daughter Christiane, is released early from prison. His reunion with his wife Jeanne, who has given birth to a child fathered by his former friend and neighbour, kicks off a series of conversations in which the troubled family members try to come to terms with the complexity of their lives and get a grip on reality.

‘Friday’ introduced characters who became classics.
De Volkskrant

Claus does not shy away from brutality in this piece. In fluent and vivid colloquial language, a mix of words and idioms from the West Flemish dialect and standard Dutch, he delivers a raw story that crossed all boundaries of genre and decency at the time.

In 1980 Claus adapted ‘Friday’ into a feature film.