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Believe what you want to believe

The Angel Yannick

Do Van Ranst

Alex is constantly running back and forth between his mother, who spends most of her time smoking joints and watching sitcoms, and his father, an actor who can’t find work and is desperate for attention. Luckily, Alex still has his swimming.

When Yannick Agnel, an Olympic champion, wants to train him, Alex can hardly believe his luck. He gives it his all, and his parents, who don’t see his talent, increasingly become an obstacle to his ambitions. After his father claims to be terminally ill, Alex decides that he’s had enough of him.

Cinematic and disconcerting
Jaap Friso

Do Van Ranst sketches another dysfunctional family, and does so with panache. The father’s pitiful play-acting, the mother’s laziness, but also the way Alex slavishly enables his father’s behaviour almost repel the reader. But the final pages retrospectively lend the whole story a surreal, painful atmosphere. As a narrator, Alex turns out to be far less passive and also less reliable than the reader believes at first.

A story with a magnificent twist. Van Ranst turns out to have been playing a sophisticated game with reality and fiction.