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A cheerful sketch of Flemish rural life

Pallieter

Felix Timmermans

An ‘ode to life’ written after a moral and physical crisis, ‘Pallieter’ was warmly received as an antidote to the misery of World War I in occupied Belgium. The miller Pallieter marries his Marieke, fathers triplets and heads off into the world on a hay cart with the whole family. All their neighbours drink heartily and sing at the top of their voices as they celebrate festivals and merrily bring in the hay, slapping each other on the shoulder and exchanging smacking great kisses.

Read it. You will laugh. You will cry, too.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Pallieter is an Adamic figure, an uncomplicated vitalistic hero who enjoys the simple, natural life to the full. Timmermans drew on the people of his native town to create characters with an abundance of affectionate humour, a wealth of anecdote and keen observational skills. He also illustrated the book himself with drawings inspired by painter Pieter Bruegel. ‘Pallieter’ is a portrait of Flemish rural life in which there is never a cheerless moment.

In its day ‘Pallieter’ received praise from authors like Stefan Zweig, Rainer Maria Rilke, Hermann Hesse, and John Muir. It sold an estimated number of 1 million copies internationally, making it the most successful Flemish literary export product of the past century.

A wonderful book full of sunshine, laughter, and an intense sense of joie de vivre.
Hermann Hesse