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A wonderful collection of tragicomic stories

Greener Grass

Annelies Verbeke

‘Greener Grass’ is a collection of stories in which a succession of people step into the limelight, all of whose lives contain substantial hidden realms: a woman who becomes fond of a bull; a tough self-defence teacher whose heart melts when she looks after a small refugee girl.

With their emotional isolation and longing for affection, the characters arouse sympathy and compassion, even if their self-control ends in a violent outburst. A postal worker, misunderstood by the people he lives with, his diligence unnoticed, puts on his best suit one day and goes out into the street with a gun. His hopelessness and wounded self-esteem lead us to see him as a tragic figure rather than simply a criminal.

Verbeke’s assured and evocative style lends the stories enormous eloquence
De Volkskrant

In this book Annelies Verbeke’s prose excels at evoking gradual loss, in strange harmony with undertones in a kind of atonal ambiguity. Things that remain implicit weigh heavily upon the characters’ lives, but absurd touches, quirkily humorous traits and unexpected twists and turns add a bizarre light-heartedness to the shifting narratives.

In ‘Greener Grass’, Verbeke peoples her peculiar world with ardent, irresistible, intriguing characters.

Powerfully written scenes
NRC Handelsblad
Beautifully articulated and full of unexpected twists and turns
De Telegraaf