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A compelling and kaleidoscopic story about loss, love and growing older

The Event

Peter Terrin

‘The Event’ is a masterful frame story by Peter Terrin in which tales of love, loss and growing older subtly flow into one another. At the centre are Willem, an elderly bestselling author, and Juliette, his assistant, a single, middle-aged woman. The writer has become almost blind towards the end of his life and he dictates his novels to Juliette. After his death, Willem leaves the recordings for his final novel to his beloved assistant, along with the task of finishing the book. Following its publication, Femke, Willem’s young wife, takes Juliette to court. Willem has the final word, after his consciousness is digitally reproduced by scientists.

In the past years, only a few authors have left their mark on Flemish literature as Peter Terrin with such a sequence of high quality novels.
De Morgen

The main story in ‘The Event’ is interspersed with short chapters that read like parts of Willem’s final manuscript, in which we encounter a diversity of characters. Terrin’s evocative depictions and eye for detail prompt the reader to join the fraught search for Frederik’s dog on a cold Christmas Eve, to look mildly upon Daniel as, in front of the bedroom mirror, he dresses up as his wife who has dementia, or to support Kurt’s plan to kidnap his old classmate Rosa. Terrin deploys his talent for empathy in a battle to achieve intimate contact with the reader. In just a few words, he succeeds in illuminating great themes distilled from small human lives.

Peter Terrin has become known as an inimitable literary stylist who in his controlled use of language elevates details to create filmic scenes. With the loose ends of each chapter he weaves a kaleidoscopic story about the human quest for connection. It makes ‘The Event’ a captivating and comforting book that will stay with the reader for a long time.

You don’t need metaphorical excesses when you can write like Peter Terrin. *****
NRC Handelsblad
'The Event' is an ode to love, as it is to literature itself.