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The destabilising power of memories


Marita de Sterck

Ruben’s grandfather Emiel is eighty-five and becoming more and more forgetful. Nuri, an introverted student, moves in to help care for him. Grandma Lea may have been dead for ten years, but that does not stop Emiel from talking to her every night. Clearing out her things triggers quite a few half-memories in him. Together with his grandson, Emiel travels to the pilgrimage site where Lea spent so much time, praying for her miracle. Some old wounds that never fully healed become more and more manifest there. Meanwhile, Ruben, who was deeply hurt by his previous girlfriend, falls for Nuri. But Nuri has her own demons from the past and won’t open up to him all that easily.

One of her best books

Narrated from different perspectives – alternating between Ruben and Emiel, Lea and even Mother Earth – Marita de Sterck tells a story of memory and love, and the pain caused, and eased, by both. In her characteristic style, with great authenticity and a palpable love of Flemish Dutch, she intertwines folk wisdom and rituals in this tightly structured portrait of three people and their battle to come to grips with memories.  

The unique combination of her highly individual themes and an authentic language and style is what sets De Sterck apart within the YA literary landscape.
Those who like to underline beautiful sentences while reading won’t be able to stop in ‘Miracle’.