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  • Cover - The Rumours
    Cover - The Rumours
    The Rumours
    The text radiates a delight in writing
    De Morgen

    ‘The Rumours’ evokes a panoramic image of 'la Flandre profonde', delving beneath the shiny veneer into the depths of its corruption and violence. Comprehension of the central storyline is hampered by the permanent tension between truth and lie. All this is presented by Claus in a playful style, as if we were reading not a dramatic allegory but a juicy village chronicle.

  • Cover - The Charred Alphabet
    Cover - The Charred Alphabet
    The Charred Alphabet
    A masterpiece
    Het Nieuwsblad

    ‘The Charred Alphabet’ follows the life of the author from October 1990 to September 1991. This literary diary is a colourful mixture of stories, impressions of and reflections on literature, art, love, nature, politics and growing old.

  • Cover Gangreen 1 - Black Venus
    Cover Gangreen 1 - Black Venus
    Gangrene 1 - Black Venus
    Geeraerts’ sentences twist and twine across the pages like lightning-speed lianas
    NRC Handelsblad

    ‘Black Venus’ is one of the most talked-about novels from post-war Flanders. The controversy surrounding the publication was astounding. Applauded as brilliant, then decried for ‘extolling of racism and pornography’; however shocked conformist Belgium might have been, no-one could really deny that seldom had a writer approached such a sensitive subject with such monumental daring. 

  • Cover Het verdriet van België
    The greatest classic in Flemish literature
    Cover Het verdriet van België
    The greatest classic in Flemish literature
    The Sorrow of Belgium
    One of the landmark European novels of the post-war era
    J.M. Coetzee

    This Bildungsroman is also a social document about political and social misfortune in Flanders before, during, and after World War II. The novel has continued to be a bestseller for many years and has been translated into numerous languages.

  • Cover Writing Prague
    Cover Writing Prague
    Writing Prague
    A web in which everything is magically interwoven
    KANTL

    In ‘Writing Prague’ Daniël Robberechts tries to create a written portrait of this turbulent city during the end of the 1960s and the decade that followed it. As it goes on, the web becomes increasingly tangled, and ‘Writing Prague’ turns into a book about writing a book, begging the question: is ‘writing’ Prague even possible anymore?

  • Cover Pieter Daens
    Cover Pieter Daens
    Pieter Daens
    Great because of its simplicity and its instantly gripping truthfulness
    Gazet van Antwerpen

    monumental book and true Flemish classic. It is a spectacular expression of Boon’s compassion for the committed individual who, despite all adversity, wants to keep on believing in socialist ideals.

  • Cover Arriving In Avignon
    Cover Arriving In Avignon
    Arriving In Avignon
    'Arriving In Avignon’ is its own strange and gorgeously sprightly thing. Here’s hoping that as many readers as possible will discover it.
    Rain Taxi Review of Books

    What at first resembles a cross between a memoir and a guidebook in time proves to be the story of a young man's dogged yet futile quest to know his own mind – unless it is the ancient city of Avignon itself that is our real protagonist: a mystery that can be approached, but never wholly solved. The narrative unfolds in a stream of consciousness, drawing the reader into the protagonist’s quest for experience.

  • Cover The Reservation
    Cover The Reservation
    The Reservation
    A work of lasting value for any conscious human being
    Algemeen Dagblad

    Basile Jonas, a sensitive and vulnerable teacher, is crushed and devoured by the totalitarian and materialistic society he lives in. Everything in this society is geared towards Utility and Profit, leaving no space for softer values such as poetry, music and friendship.

  • Cover The Alpha Cycle
    America Award
    Cover The Alpha Cycle
    America Award
    The Alpha Cycle
    He bursts from every page and every line is brimming with a zest for life
    Peter Verhelst

    ‘The Alpha Cycle’ is one of the most overwhelming reading experiences in postwar literature. This five-volume series owes its legendary status to Michiels’ unsurpassed use of crystal-clear, almost primitive language. The first two volumes in particular, ‘Book Alpha’ (1963) and ‘Orchis Militaris’ (1968), have lost nothing of their punch.

  • Wonder
    A work of savage satire
    The New York Review of Books

    ‘Wonder’ is without any doubt one of the landmarks of twentieth-century Dutch literature. The baroque plot is intertwined with strong psychological portraits, scenes from Flemish military history and lurid images of desire.

  • Cover Death of a Nun
    Cover Death of a Nun
    Death of a Nun
    A classic of Flemish literature
    De Standaard

    Sabine, who is confined to a wheelchair, is praying for a miracle. In exchange for a cure, she promises God to serve as a nun for the rest of her life. Her sole condition is that she gets to spend one more year with her lover Joris. Sabine is cured, but does not keep her promise: she marries Joris. When her husband and child die, she is racked with guilt.

  • Cover 'The Danger'
    Cover 'The Danger'
    The Danger
    With Jos Vandeloo we have gained one more great and modern writer
    Louis Paul Boon

    Three workers in a nuclear power station are irradiated during an accident. After examination, they are placed in a separate wing of the hospital, isolated from the rest of society and doomed to die within a week. When, after a few days, one of them dies, the other two men desperately undertake an escape attempt from this terrible isolation.

  • The Coming of Joachim Stiller
    Our foremost representative of magical realism
    NRC Handelsblad

    Journalist Freek Groenevelt’s life is thoroughly shaken up by a series of surprising events that seem to all revolve around an individual called Joachim Stiller. The novel is a textbook example of the magic realist style in which reality is interwoven with surreal elements: nothing is exactly as it seems.

  • Cover The Man in the Mirror
    Cover The Man in the Mirror
    The Man in the Mirror
    One of the purest realisations of the therapeutic novel
    Bernard Kemp

    One day while looking in a mirror Henri sees deterioration in a body that is no longer his. He undergoes a beauty treatment before entering into the ultimate confrontation with himself, arising from the ashes as a handsome young man. But this ‘purification’ is a vain attempt at camouflaging a life built on lies and deceit.

  • Cover Minuet
    Cover Minuet
    Minuet
    One of the greatest figures in Flemish fiction
    De Nieuwe Gazet

    In ‘Minuet’, a man works eight hours a day in the deep-freeze basement of a factory. In that polar world he is accompanied only by his own fears and thoughts, and for hours on end he has conversations with himself. The neurotic protagonist poses critical questions about religion, monarchy and the State.

  • Cover Klinkaart
    Cover Klinkaart
    Klinkaart
    A fast-paced and nuanced story, a strong indictment of the exploitation of the child
    NBD Biblion

    A young girl from a working-class family gets up early for her first day at the brickworks. This first day at work means both the end of her childhood years and her ‘initiation’ into adult life. She makes her first acquaintance with the gruelling work, the brutality of the workers and the tyranny of Krevelt, the dreaded boss. She can see only one way out: the young love that blossoms between her and an apprentice. But will that be enough of an anchor to keep her from drifting into the danger that fate is mercilessly pushing her towards?

  • Cover Chapel Road
    Cover Chapel Road
    Chapel Road
    One of the few truly magnificent novels in Dutch language-literature. A masterpiece.
    De Volkskrant

    This novel tells the story of Ondine, who was born in a poverty-stricken house in Chapel Road at the turn of the twentieth century. The Times Literary Supplement wrote: 'Since its original appearance in 1953, this novel by the candidate for the Nobel Prize has been controversial as only works in advance of their time can be; and even now that experimental writing is commonplace, it has lost none of its freshness and vitality.'

  • Cover The Battle with the Angel
    Cover The Battle with the Angel
    The Battle with the Angel
    Monumental epic grandeur
    Grand Prize for Literature

    ‘The Battle with the Angel’ tells of the life of a community, spread over several generations, but primarily between the world wars. The work bears witness to an unbridled creative force masterfully endeavouring to portray the contrast between primeval nature and decadence. Teirlinck never moralises or lectures, but is majestic and full of compassion for his characters.

  • Cover Lament for Agnes
    Cover Lament for Agnes
    Lament for Agnes
    An unusually accomplished book
    Libertinage

    ‘Lament for Agnes’ is essentially an autobiographical novel. The character of Agnes is in many respects that of Gijsen’s own fiancé who died of TB, while the narrator has much in common with the authors as a young man. ‘Lament for Agnes’ is a  novel that is once deeply personal and a fully independent work of art.

  • Cover The Train of Inertia
    Cover The Train of Inertia

    After a mysterious journey in a train populated with sleeping passengers, three train travellers find themselves in a strange, shadowy land, a timeless transition area, to which each responds in his own way.

  • Cover The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short
    Cover The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short
    The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short
    A mix of acutely observed human passions and surrealist contradictions
    Dietsche Warande en Belfort

    Teacher Govert Miereveld becomes enchanted by his pupil Fran. Unable to express his love, he leaves the school and changes both his job and hometown. Ten years later he attends an autopsy, which affects him a great deal. Later that day, he also runs into Fran in the hotel where he is staying. That night, he visits her in her hotel room, where a drama unfolds.

  • Cover My Little War
    Cover My Little War
    My Little War
    This splendid, painful, sparkling book is worth reading and rereading
    De Standaard

    ‘My Little War’ is based on Boon's own war experiences during World War II. It is a collection of thirty loosely interrelated chapters, each containing a story that can be read independently. ‘My Little War’ is to Flemish literature what ‘Voyage au bout de la nuit’ by Louis-Ferdinand Céline is to French literature: a slap in the face to bourgeois literature, a radical experiment that thoroughly shook up the traditional novel.

  • Cover Will-o'-the-Wisp
    Cover Will-o'-the-Wisp
    Will-o'-the-Wisp
    A finely tempered piece, with an intuitive sympathy for strange modes of feeling
    The Times

    ‘Will-O’-The-Wisp’, the last of Elsschot's novellas, tells the story of the nocturnal search by the rather washed-up Frans Laarmans and three Afghan sailors for the mysterious Maria van Dam. The simple plot of a fruitless search in an urban setting contains undertones of a wider parable of the quest, thus making a concentrated summary of the themes that run through all Elsschot’s novels.

  • Cover Pitfalls
    Cover Pitfalls
    Pitfalls
    A literary all-rounder who explores all facets of life
    De Volkskrant

    ‘Pitfalls’ is a varied collection of letters, verse and short stories. The excerpts from the letters – which were never intended to be made public – caused a furore at the time. The title refers to the obstacles between Minne and the process of writing, between the author and publication – in other words, to the aforementioned struggle. As Minne put it: ‘Caution, enter at your peril!’

  • Cover Houtekiet
    Cover Houtekiet
    Houtekiet
    An enthralling creation myth with almost biblical appeal and ambition
    De Morgen

    In ‘Houtekiet’, Walschap gives a concise, powerful portrayal of his own ideal of the individual and society. ‘Houtekiet, that’s me,’ he admitted. This is a novel about civilisation and faith that goes beyond the traditional differences between culture and nature, between institutionalised religion and individual vitalism.

  • Cover Lijmen / Het been
    Cover Lijmen / Het been
    Soft Soap/The Leg
    Elsschot possesses the rare knack of making a reader laugh, squirm and sob, all at the same time
    The New York Times

    The novellas ‘Soft Soap’ (1924) and ‘The Leg’ (1938) are two highlights from Elsschot’s fiction, linked by a common narrative and featuring the recurring tragicomic Keatonesque character of Frans Laarmans who also appears in Will-o’-the-Wisp (1946).

  • Cover - Elias or the Struggle With the Nightingales
    Cover - Elias or the Struggle With the Nightingales
    Elias or the Struggle With the Nightingales
    Every single line sparkles and shines
    De Volkskrant

    In a series of fascinating scenes, Gilliams evokes the vulnerable position of a boy growing up amongst older people in a world shaped by nostalgia and the fear of life. Elias perceives that world ‘in the lucidity of a dream’. The precision of observation and narrative evocation is what makes ‘Elias’ such a masterpiece.

  • Peasant Psalm
    In both content and form, his writing shows an unequalled degree of unmistakable originality, such talent is a gift of nature and cannot be learnt
    Gerard Walschap

    Farmer Wortel recounts the story of his life: his connection to the soil which he works, his relationship with God (and pastor), and his natural acceptance of his and his family’s fate. The story, written in the first person, echoes with this simple man’s love for life.

  • Cheese
    One can speak of Elsschot’s oeuvre as great European literature
    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

    Since its publication in English, ‘Cheese’ has conquered the world with translations in more than 30 languages. The novella deals with an episode in the life of Frans Laarmans, a clerk who is suddenly made chief representative of a Dutch cheese company. ‘Cheese’ is a satire of the business world and the perfect vehicle for Elsschot’s dry humorous style. In a brilliant evocation of the thirties, it depicts a world full of smart operators and failed businessmen.

  • Cover Grotesques
    Cover Grotesques
    Grotesques
    Very well worth discovering
    Staalkaart

    ‘Novellas that attempt to make a fool of people,’ is how Paul van Ostaijen once described his grotesques. In these astonishing texts full of absurd blow-ups, he lashed out against the wrongs of his time, mercilessly unsettling all logic.

  • Cover - Het leven en dood in de ast
    Cover - Het leven en dood in de ast
    Life and Death in the Drying Kiln
    Streuvels is the Tolstoy of the Lowlands. Magisterial.
    David Van Reybrouck

    This story gives an inimitable description of the monotony and finiteness of life against the backdrop of a drunken, nocturnal atmosphere in which dream and reality are masterfully interwoven. With this novella, bathed in a magic-realistic atmosphere, Streuvels has written one of the loveliest short stories in Dutch literature.

  • Cover The Aunts
    Cover The Aunts
    The Aunts
    A wonderful book, in my opinion. All real people, larger than life.
    Willem Elsschot

    ‘The Aunts’ is a classic novel about the tragedy of a petit-bourgeois family in the early 20th century. This literary tale is, above all, an indictment against the oppressive class-ridden society of the time, but the melodramatic highpoints and the cynical tone will effortlessly fascinate today’s reader.

  • Cover Whitey
    Cover Whitey
    Whitey
    A favourite among the Flemish public
    De Standaard

    ‘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.

  • Cover The Peasant, Dying
    Cover The Peasant, Dying
    The Dying Peasant
    Maybe it’s the finest thing by Van de Woestijne that we have
    Martinus Nijhoff

    Evening falls, it grows dark, the peasant Nand is lying alone in bed and is cold. Scraps of his life flash by his mind’s eye. ‘The Dying Peasant’ isn’t just an anecdotal peasant novella, but a symbolic tale that excels in its simplicity.

  • Cover Pallieter
    1 million copies sold
    Cover Pallieter
    1 million copies sold
    Pallieter
    Read it. You will laugh. You will cry, too.
    Rainer Maria Rilke

    An ‘ode to life’ written after a moral and physical crisis, ‘Pallieter’ was warmly received as an antidote to the misery of World War I in occupied Belgium. ‘Pallieter’ is a portrait of Flemish rural life in which there is never a cheerless moment.

  • Cover Villa des Roses
    Cover Villa des Roses
    Villa des Roses
    One can speak of Elsschot’s oeuvre as great European literature
    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

    Set in a down-market Paris boarding house before World War I, this novel is a masterpiece of ironic black humour. The Villa’s owner, the energetic Madame Brulot, is childless and lavishes more affection on her pet monkey, Chico, than on her husband, an embittered ex-solicitor.

  • Cover The Flax Field
    Cover The Flax Field
    The Flax Field
    Streuvels is the Tolstoy of the Lowlands. Magisterial.
    David Van Reybrouck

    ‘The Flax Field’ is constructed as a classic tragedy, and tells of the tragic conflict between father and son Vermeulen. The father rules over his entire farm as an authoritarian patriarch. But Louis, his almost grown up son who has quite a bit of insight into farming, thinks differently.

  • The Van Paemel Family
    A moving play
    NBD Biblion

    In ‘The Van Paemel Family’, Cyriel Buysse addresses the social exploitation and immense poverty of the rural population. Buysse paints a picture of how the farmer becomes ruined and his family falls apart as a result of socioeconomic conditions. Although Buysse offers no solutions to the conflict, there is still a glimmer of hope.

  • Cover The Lion of Flanders
    Cover The Lion of Flanders
    The Lion of Flanders
    Conscience is a Flemish icon, his writing renowned and devoured within his lifetime, even outside of the borders of the newly-independent Belgium
    Cobra

    The book tells the tale of the conflict between the cities and the lawful French monarch in the County of Flanders during the Middle Ages, culminating in the victory of a Flemish peasant militia over the French knights at the 1302 Battle of the Golden Spurs. Conscience enriches events with a great deal of imagination, and so his account morphs into a heroic, superhuman struggle with a timeless and symbolic significance.