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Prototype of the picaresque regional novel

Whitey

Ernest Claes

‘Whitey’ by Ernest Claes is a picaresque novel about youthful escapades and growing up. Set in the village of Zichem in De Kempen, the Flemish region where both the author and his character were born, it is one of the prototypes of the immensely popular regional novel. The story of the hero’s childish pranks is a classic of Flemish literature, which has been adapted for the big screen on two occasions.

Those in search of an enjoyable read will find what they’re looking for in ‘Whitey’. Each page is delightful.
De Standaard

The protagonist, Ludovicus Verheyden, is a mischievous but sympathetic peasant boy from rural Zichem. He is always up to no good, which is not to everybody’s liking. The boy is usually caught in the act and, as the saying goes, you reap what you sow! But the lovable rascal isn’t at all put off by the punishments.

‘Whitey’ was one of Ernest Claes’ first books and upon publication in 1920 it immediately captured the hearts of a large readership. Many reprints followed, making ‘Whitey’ the author’s best-known novel.

The fact that this story from the Belgian provinces has been reprinted so many times is testament to the unfailing interest in the swagger and vitality of youth
NDB Biblion
Ernest Claes was Flemish literature […] ‘Whitey’ is still eminently readable.
Humo