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Melancholy epos on Antwerp in the 80s and 90s

Thieves of Passion

Ivo Victoria

Antwerp, the mid-1990s. One flat in an empty tower block which is being converted into a hotel has been abandoned fully furnished. Three young men break in and ‘rescue’ a collection of 5,000 jazz LPs, a stuffed balloon fish and a plastic folder full of draft versions of heart-rending love letters. These were written by the last occupant of the flat, a young widow named Josée. The letters are all addressed to a certain Clive Davis, a DJ at a local pirate radio station, and hint at a problematic relationship between the two.

A novel bursting with warmth and beauty
De Groene Amsterdammer

Twenty years later, one of the three young burglars  books a room in the Arass Hotel in Antwerp, in the exact same location where he made off with the letters. He attempts to unravel the mystery of Josée and Clive Davis and restore the past to its former glory. While doing so, he also faces up to his own decisions, mistakes and things-that-might-have-been.

'Thieves of Passion’ is an inspired epos about the youthful years that we lose, the love we long for and the mistakes that shape our lives. Victoria has written a recognisable generation novel about nostalgia for the golden days, for the places, the people and the stories that are gone for good.

An ingeniously constructed book, rich in language and nuance
De Morgen
So many sentences worth memorising
Haarlems Dagblad