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Sardonic breakthrough novel by a legendary writer

The Man Who Found a Job

Herman Brusselmans

Louis Tinner works as a librarian in the Book Palace, the ‘recreational library’ of a large, otherwise unidentified government agency. He spends his long days drenched in loneliness and idleness surrounded by shelf after shelf of books. The few visitors to the library are either sent packing or brushed off with books they don’t want, books often missing a few essential pages that Tinner has been known to remove from time to time. When he attacks a co-worker who turns out to be the son of the boss, it looks as if the end for Tinner is nigh.

Virtuoso composition and writing
NRC Handelsblad

Brusselmans’ combination of desperation and emptiness and the sardonic indulgence of this general malaise in the innocent, unsuspecting citizen caused a major stir in the traditional Flemish literature of the 1980s, as did his cynical but irresistible humour and immediate style. ‘The Man Who Found a Job’ is also a milestone in his extensive oeuvre, serving as unique point of reference for one of Flanders’ most read authors.

A sublime little work which, though about boredom, doesn’t bore one for a second. On the contrary!
Vrij Nederland
‘The literary reincarnation of John Bonham’
Harold Polis, Flemish publisher and publicist

‘The Man Who Found Work’ is so good it makes you think that many other books are really bad. Everything is where it should be in the book, which is in sharp contrast to the heavy 1980s, the chaotic period that remains forever coupled with the main character Louis Tinner.

Brusselmans’ novel is the opposite of shameless and insensitive. Tinner soaks up the insanity of the world. He defends himself by taking the blows, until he breaks and collapses, felled by boredom. The motionless eighties left little room for fantasy. Heroes like the demonic banker Gordon Gekko from Wall Street (1987) – ‘greed is good’ – claimed that the accumulation of wealth and success would be our redemption. Oppressive respectability was also an option. It was as if history had ground to a standstill. Absolutely nothing was happening, and Tinner makes that painfully clear.

Brusselmans conquered the rural and urban reality in the guise of a Handsome Young God. The blowhard gasbag Brusselmans appeared to be omnipresent, spreading the word and entertaining the people in bookshops, cellars, pubs, youth clubs, libraries and barns. He did this as the literary reincarnation of John Bonham, Led Zeppelin’s legendary drummer. A few decades after the invention of the transistor radio, vinyl records, and the wah-wah pedal, pop culture finally found its way into Flemish prose.