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Novella

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  • Cover Bread
    Cover Bread
    Bread
    Haunting. With short chapters, Elvis Peeters keeps the reader in a stranglehold.
    Cutting Edge

    A boy grows up in a village where war threatens. Then, the supermarket at which the boy works is bombed into the ground. Leaving is now the only option. In confident, crystal-clear language, ‘Bread’ tells the gripping, poetic coming-of-age story of a boy who is not given the chance to enjoy his youth.

  • Cover Kaddish for a C*nt
    Cover Kaddish for a C*nt
    Kaddish for a C*nt
    Verhulst at his best, perhaps even better than ever: sharp, empathetic and subtle.
    NRC Handelsblad

    ‘Kaddish for a C*nt’ is a diptych about life in a children’s home and its consequences. It is a bitingly written punch in the stomach about children who constantly feel unwanted and unloved.

  • Cover The Man I Became
    Cover The Man I Became
    The Man I Became
    While it entertains us with the strangeness of anthropomorphism, it is profoundly engaged with the strangeness of being human
    The Times Literary Supplement

    ‘The Man I Became’ is an account written by an ape. Along with masses of fellow apes, he is plucked from a state of nature and, after a tough sea journey to the New World, subjected to a rigorous programme of civilization.

  • Cover The Latecomer
    90,000 copies sold
    Cover The Latecomer
    90,000 copies sold
    The Latecomer
    Will often have you in fits of laughter, only to grab you the next moment unexpectedly by the throat
    De Standaard

    A retired librarian wants to escape the dreary monotony his bossy wife has imposed on him. There is only one, extraordinary way in which he can regain the self-esteem that his marriage has dented. He plans to gradually feign dementia until he finds himself in a rest home, freed from all social and familial pressure.

  • Cover The Very Last Caracara of the World
    Cover The Very Last Caracara of the World
    The Very Last Caracara of the World
    Verhelst creates visual prose and will not readily be surpassed in that respect
    De Standaard

    The Belgian Doctor Duval moved to a magnificent tropical island years ago. Together with the priest and the Madame from the coffee house, he involves himself in the destiny of Cassandra, the girl who stands constantly at the water­line. Life on the island is abruptly disturbed when several whales and a number of women and girls who are unable to speak are washed ashore.

  • Cover Stammered Songbook
    Cover Stammered Songbook
    Stammered Songbook
    It’s written with this precision, tenderness and sense of desolation
    Julian Barnes

    After Mortier's mother falls victim to Alzheimer's disease at the age of 57, he becomes the chronicler of her slow deterioration. ‘Stammered Songbook’ is not solely about mourning, but also about language, and above all about love. Mortier's book is an essential, universal lament, bitter and razor-sharp yet pure and sublime in its beauty.

  • Cover Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill
    Cover Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill
    Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill
    Often preposterous, sometimes poignant and, above all, consistently charming
    The Independent

    Many years ago, Madame Verona and her husband, both musicians, moved to a house on a hill outside the village of Oucwègne. Verhulst portrays this worn-out village with an extraordinary sensitivity to simplicity and authenticity. The exceptional care he devotes to style, as a master of the craft, shows some very appealing geniality and intimism. 

  • Cover Fort Europe. A Canticle of Fragmentation
    Cover Fort Europe. A Canticle of Fragmentation
    Fort Europa. A Canticle of Fragmentation
    Virtuoso writing and an intellectually challenging reflection of our living environment
    De Standaard

    In this polyphonic theatre novella, there are fantasises, speculations and brainstorms in antitheses about the future of Europe. Seven anonymous Europeans tell their stories. Lanoye describes a future Europe that is dominated by dissatisfaction and the longing for a better version of itself.

  • Cover A Day with Mr. Jules
    Cover A Day with Mr. Jules
    A Day with Mr. Jules
    A compact, elegiac and atmospheric book
    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

    When she finds her husband dead, Alice does not rush to the phone to call the doctor or her son. She wraps Jules in a plaid, and makes plans for lunch. She is willing to relinquish her husband to death if need be, but not to the outside world. ‘A Day with Mr. Jules’ is a touching, convincing novel about the end of a man’s life: a worthy “sputtering finale of belching steam”.

  • Cover Problemski Hotel
    Cover Problemski Hotel
    Problemski Hotel
    An extremely fascinating book in which the everyday lives of asylum seekers is told in an unparalleled fashion
    De Standaard

    The narrator, Bipul Masli, sketches an intriguing picture of life in an asylum centre. He describes the daily routine with detached irony. His tireless attempts to gain recognition as a refugee are both comic and touching.

  • Cover Memoirs of a Leopard
    Cover Memoirs of a Leopard
    Memoirs of a Leopard
    An intoxicating, sensory gem of a novel
    NBD Biblion

    Verhelst writes this story of an inspired passion in highly poetic, but also glowing, compelling and incisive prose, with a strongly physical wealth of images, a super-sensitive and sensual explicitness. This creates a troubled, but fascinating blurring of the boundaries between reality and imagination, as well as reality and memory.

  • Cover Next Year in Berchem
    Cover Next Year in Berchem
    Next Year in Berchem
    The evocative power of language, together with Pleysier’s masterful arrangement of words and sentences, combine to make this a literary jewel.
    De Telegraaf

    Pleysier is a master at giving voice to that great and painful silence of the generations. He does this without using any great emphasis, so that the reader feels he is a guest in the house, and, like the narrator, looks forward to being invited to Berchem again next year.

     

  • 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 - The Yellow River Is Freezed Over
    Cover - The Yellow River Is Freezed Over
    The Yellow River Is Freezed Over
    More beautiful and more moving prose has not appeared this year. A gem.
    Vrij Nederland

    This book is narrated by the author as a young boy, who listens to his mother read out letters from her absent sister-in-law, a Catholic nun doing missionary work in far-off China. The novelty is the narration of the story from a child’s perspective – a child who is so close to the ground that he tells people apart by their feet.

  • Cover - White is always nice
    Cover - White is always nice
    White is Always Nice
    A moving book with a rich and functional recounting of anecdotes
    Het Parool

    ‘White is Always Nice’ is a moving story about origins, mourning and language. It is the extended monologue of an old woman who has just died but cannot stop talking. In a one-sided conversation with her silent son, she keeps up her usual non-stop chatter as her body is laid out and preparations are made for the wake.

  • 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?

  • Winter in Antwerp
    His is some of the most exquisite work to be found in Dutch.
    Het Vaderland

    ‘Winter in Antwerp’ is the singular follow-up to Gilliams’ ‘Elias or the Struggle with the Nightingales’. Elias now having lost his mother and spent months in hospital, is walking to his elderly father’s house. In brief, associative, yet carefully composed chapters, the narrator examines his past, his obsessions and his fears.

  • 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 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 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 - 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.

  • 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 - 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 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.