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Debut

trans­lated into
  • Cover Dochter
    Cover Dochter
    Daughter
    Shockingly raw and enchanting in equal measure *****
    Knack

    Daughter is a girl with learning disabilities. She does not recognise cruelty, or sexual abuse, when it is done to her, or when she does it to someone else. The events are shocking to the reader, but not to Daughter herself. The disconcerting effect of this contrast is reinforced by the book’s extremely efficient, economical style: brief chapters with short sentences that paint a clear and credible picture of the reasoning of a mentally deficient and vulnerable girl.

  • Cover Who Was the Hat Maker?
    Cover Who Was the Hat Maker?
    Who Was the Hatter?
    A marvel of penmanship *****
    De Volkskrant

    Twelve years after they had a short-lived but passionate relationship, the reserved Hermine and the tormented, suicidal writer Didier, drive to a conference in Vienna together. In this autobiographical love tragedy, Zvonik investigates with a delicate pen and psychological finesse to what extent it is possible to love someone, while at the same time keeping your distance.

  • Cover North
    Cover North
    North
    Wild, dark, romantic and almost addictively well-written ****
    Focus Knack

    ‘North’ is a carefully crafted and addictively well-written debut novel about ‘indecision in the choice’: the choice between two men, between art and life, between Vancouver and the harsh life in the north, and between the musical styles that are entwined with each location.

  • Cover The Melting
    Cover The Melting
    The Melting
    A debut that you wish every writer would write: surprising, imaginative and merciless *****
    De Standaard

    Eva, in her late twenties, travels back to her native village with a big block of ice in her car. She has been invited to a viewing of a new milking parlour at a dairy farm where her childhood friend Pim still lives, an occasion that will also serve to commemorate the death of his older brother, who drowned as a young man. Slowly it becomes clear she returned to her village to take revenge for what happened to her as a child...

  • Cover Hair
    Cover Hair
    Hair
    Beautiful in its simplicity, honesty and humanity
    De Leesfabriek

    On their way home from a holiday on the Costa Brava, Suzanne, Catherine and Hanna watch as their mother is mowed down by lorry on the shoulder of a French motorway. From now on, father Ivo will do his best to raise their three daughters, but without great success.

  • Cover The Antelope Knife
    Cover The Antelope Knife
    Find Me Gone
    An exquisite entry into the literary arena
    De Volkskrant

    Belgium in the 1990s. Hannah and Sophie are twelve and inseparable, the way only twelve-year-old girls can be. But when Hannah falls for the charismatic Damiaan their friendship changes. Then, after a late-night party in the village, Sophie fails to come home.

  • Cover Cinderella
    Cover Cinderella
    Cinderella
    So confusing, intriguing, dark and horrifying that you want to devour every single page *****
    Cutting Edge

    'Cinderella' is a semi-autobiographical novel about the son of a prostitute who opens a brothel and becomes his mother’s pimp. It is a grand novel, written in raw prose, tackling the tribulations of running a brothel and the inescapable relationship between mother and child. It is a refreshing combination of filth and the sublime, of tragedy and comedy.

  • Cover Even Birds Fall
    Cover Even Birds Fall
    Even Birds Fall
    Daem's stories exude daring and the urge to experiment. ****
    Cutting Edge

    This book is Daem’s disconcerting, funny and idiosyncratic debut. Despite the often dark subjects – he does not fight shy of death – Daem invariably allows a gleam of hope to show through in his stories. He carries the reader along with his excellent sense of control and structure, working out the dramatic storyline to the last detail.

  • Cover Woesten
    Cover Woesten
    Woesten
    Enchantingly beautiful
    De Wereld Draait Door

    ‘Woesten’ recounts a suffocating story full of village gossip about a family in which fate strikes with a heavy hand, leaving no-one unscathed. It portrays a realistic, almost naturalistic image of a typical rural village in the early 20th century and offers a nuanced view of the psychology of intriguing characters.

  • Cover The City and Time
    Cover The City and Time
    The City and Time
    Robijn fits his touching miniatures into a larger, meaningful story without his characters becoming puppets. He is a born storyteller. *****
    De Standaard

    'The City and Time' consists of nine stories in chronological order, all of which take place in Brussels. Robijn’s characters all have difficulty getting by in life, but succeed by throwing themselves blindly into their regular activities. Until something – often love – turns up and turns everything upside down.

  • Cover Many Heavens Beyond the Seventh
    Cover Many Heavens Beyond the Seventh
    Many Heavens Beyond the Seventh
    Delightful
    HP/De Tijd

    Five people, linked together, tell their story. They talk about unexpected happiness that makes things complicated, about secrets that seem too big to handle, about the complex art of being young, about obstacles that seem like mountains, about keeping on trying, to the point where no one can go any further.

  • Cover Up To Date
    EU Prize for Literature
    Cover Up To Date
    EU Prize for Literature
    Up To Date
    Van Gerrewey proves once again that the intangible nature of love is still the ever-reliable fuel of literature
    De Morgen

    A man wakes up in a house belonging to friends who have gone on holiday. Accompanied by their cat, he recalls the previous summer, when a woman was still with him. He decides to write to her to bring her up to date with recent developments.

    Is this a letter of complaint from a jilted lover, an exhibitionist confession to the world, or a scrupulous self-examination?

  • Cover - Flood
    Cover - Flood
    Flood
    This is not just a great debut novel, it’s a great book in general
    De Standaard

    An uncompromising reflection of the zeitgeist. Set against the backdrop of an ecological disaster, Roderik Six deploys his razor-sharp style to deliver a chilling story about the resilience of man and his ruthless urge to survive.

  • Cover Barely Body
    Cover Barely Body
    Barely Body
    Flawless stories like these haven’t appeared in Flanders for a long time.
    Knack

    ‘Barely Body’ is a collection of five classic existentialist tales about people who are alive only in the physical sense. Their dreams are mercilessly eroded by the ravages of time, turning them into pale shadows of who they used to be.

  • Cover - Woman Country
    Cover - Woman Country
    Woman Country
    A wonderful story, impossible to put down
    De Morgen

    The novel presents a Moroccan outlook on the differences between Moroccans in Morocco and those who have emigrated; between their own values and Western values; between tradition and the modern ways of thinking that men find so hard to deal with.

    Lamrabet creates above all a subtle and convincing portrait of a fascinating woman, who, standing firmly by her decisions, must pay the social and intellectual price.

  • Cover The Phoenix
    Cover The Phoenix
    The Phoenix
    This is a story about how tragic loss can totally consume a human being. Chika Unigwe’s spare and accessible telling has created a truly poignant narrative.
    Ike Oguine, author of ‘A Squatter’s Tale’

    She explores the relationship between migration and loneliness, both of which are becoming more entrenched in modern European society. ‘The Phoenix’ is Unigwe’s debut novel: the story of a strong woman who, hit by loss, homesickness and illness, tries to keep going. 

  • Cover Blockmeat (Scraps)
    Cover Blockmeat (Scraps)
    Blockmeat (Scraps)
    Detached and playful; mischievous, ironic, ambiguous and not seldom hilarious
    De Morgen

    The main character in ‘Blockmeat’ and his pal Celis attempt to organise a ‘better’ food distribution for the homeless. But thanks to the liberal amounts of wine involved, this inevitably gets completely out of hand.

  • Cover Sleep!
    Cover Sleep!
    Sleep!
    Funny, singular and moving
    De Morgen

    ‘Sleep!’ is a convincing novel about two insomniacs, in which the author uses the complex personalities of her characters to pen a strikingly insightful vision of life and its experiences. Verbeke writes about the underdog, about people whose poignant yearning for a normal life arouses our compassion.

  • Cover The Plague
    Cover The Plague
    The Plague
    A talented writer, original and funny, who is definitely one to watch
    Le Monde

    While working on his thesis, David Van Reybrouck came across the accusation that the Belgian writer and Nobel Prize winner Maurice Maeterlinck had plagiarised from the work of the South African author Eugène Marais. ‘The Plague’ sweeps the reader along in a thrilling literary adventure, which leaves its image on the mind’s eye long after the last page has been turned.

  • Cover Marcel
    Cover Marcel
    Marcel
    A literary debut of great originality
    The Times Literary Supplement

    This novel, peppered with countless striking metaphors and colloquialisms, describes the vivid history of a family in a Flemish village. The essence of the novel is a cautious fumbling for truth. A young boy attempts to fathom his grandmother’s proud, dour demeanour and to get closer to his teacher. But above all he wants to understand what happened to Marcel.

  • Cover Toast
    Cover Toast
    Toast (Tox/Soap/Web)
    Hard, pleasantly crude and more topical than ever. His stories are on fast forward without the brakes on.
    De Standaard over 'Web'

    Mennes depicts young characters who resort to extreme measures in an attempt to deal with the emptiness of their lives. ‘Toast’ offers a heart-wrenching and impressive portrait of a Lost Generation.

  • Cover By the Sea
    Cover By the Sea
    By the Sea
    Fresh and candid. De Kuypers’s amused style lifts everything up out of the everyday.
    Vrij Nederland

    At the end of the 1940s a family from Brussels resume a pre-war tradition of spending the summer in Ostend, on the Belgian coast. As he plays, the young boy Eric takes it all in: the sights, textures, tastes and smells – all the things his adult self will remember with delight and wonder.

  • Cover A Butcher's Son with Glasses
    Cover A Butcher's Son with Glasses
    A Butcher's Son with Glasses
    Ingeniously constructed and imaginative tales arouse emotion and a sense of tragedy.
    Het Parool

    The four stories in this debut provide a caricatured but equally nostalgic and loving impression of ‘La Flandre Profonde’ and demonstrate Lanoye’s feel for humour and style. Although the main character from ‘A Butcher’s Son with Glasses’ resembles the author in many ways, these stories are nevertheless loaded with surrealism, wit and crackling irony.

  • Cover The Duck Hunt
    Cover The Duck Hunt
    The Duck Hunt
    Truly sublime
    Simon Vestdijk

    'The Duck Hunt' is the story of a Flemish farming family during World War II. The centre of the family is the widow Metsiers, who is called ‘the Mother’. Years ago, she murdered her husband, together with her lover Mon Verkindere, with whom she now lives on the farmstead. She has two children: Ana and Bennie. Bennie and his half-sister are driven ever closer together, until a love grows between them for which Bennie eventually has to pay the price.

  • 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.