Empathy is the raw material all his books are made of
This is the true story of a fisherman and his daughter, who fled their home country Vietnam some time ago. Hung crossed the ocean in his small fishing vessel to start a new life in a village behind a high sea wall. Quyen opened a successful restaurant, but is now struggling with an identity crisis.
The alternation between zooming in to focus on the films and panning out to the world stage works well.
Matthijs de Ridder gives a sparkling account of an artist who was able to embody all the important themes of the 20th century. Using new sources, he casts a fresh glance over the life and work of Chaplin. At the same time, ‘The Age of Charlie Chaplin’ is a phenomenal cultural history of a turbulent period that defines our worldview to this very day.
A passionate plea against hate, thirst for revenge and the urge for destruction
El Bachiri transforms the pain he suffered into a message of love and humanity, in which he appeals to western Muslims for a more humanist approach to Islam. ‘A Jihad for Love’ is the answer to the hatred of those who wish to divide us, of those who propagate violence and terrorism.
With his talent for well-balanced, focused writing, De Moor now occupies an unrivalled position within Dutch-language literature.
How did the Nazis poison the bustling life of the city? Which communist absurdities were the residents of East Berlin confronted with in the GDR? How did the city transform after ‘die Wende’?
In ‘Berlin. Life in a Divided City’, Piet de Moor goes in search of the soul of the mythical metropolis, a city that suffered like no other during the violent history of the 20th century. The result is an informative and kaleidoscopic book that is truly worth reading.
His most personal and at the same time most universal book
'Abadaringi’ is a sketchbook and an intriguing documentary about the genocide in Rwanda. Janssen draws the landscapes and settings he encounters, and creates portraits of the people he speaks to. He also tells his own story, in handwritten notes. A phenomenal piece of journalism.
Francis Mus displays an expertise not seen before by Cohen’s Canadian critics.
Authority on Cohen Francis Mus portrays the real Cohen and his recurring demons. He searched for and found ‘Cohen pieces’ that never have been written about. This book offers a unique view into Leonard Cohen’s soul.
It brings the reader closer to the origins and the reality of armed jihad than most of the analyses.
Together AlDe’emeh and Stockmans travel to Zarqa in Jordan, the cradle of international jihad and AlDe’emeh’s birthplace in a refugee camp. They returned with surreal stories that make this book unforgettable.
His argument for a collective authority is inspired and well-founded, but also provocative and utopian.
Verhaeghe seeks and finds a new interpretation in groups, which lend authority to an individual or an institution, whether they be parents’ associations, groups of active citizens or shareholders’ meetings.
The Hedwige Polder, the most famous stretch of reclaimed land in the Belgian lowlands, is to be flooded again no matter what. It has become symbolic of old farmland forced to make way for new nature reserves.
Verbeken brings back to life the era of the great expectations
Pascal Verbeken registers the small and the large signs of the times. He listens to a multicoloured collection of Belgians and their unique, sometimes tragic stories. ‘Grand Central Belge’ is a requiem for a divided country that does not succeed in chasing its old demons away.
Nobody has taught me as much about the euro crisis as Paul De Grauwe.
Do the financial crisis and the growing inequality create a new balance of power between the free market and the government? Are we witnessing a turnover of capitalism and does the government take over again?
Provocative and elegant, visionary and stylish. This European dares to tell the hard truths.
Chief Geopolitical Analyst for Stratfor
We, as Europeans, feel as if the future passes right by us. The crisis rages over our continent like a storm and dismantles all our certainties. Are the fundaments of Europe crumbling? And do we actually understand what is going on?
The polder village of Doel, situated in the shadow of a nuclear reactor near the port of Antwerp, has been a pawn in the power games of successive politicians since the 1960s. Jeroen Janssen became fascinated by those who stayed behind and by their stories. ‘Doel’ is an impressive account of a personal journey of discovery in a village whose fate has long been uncertain.
Decreus’ critical discussion of dominant market thinking in our depoliticized society is clever and provocative.
Politiek en Samenleving
Decreus sets out to subject the current political establishment to fierce criticism. He unmasks representative democracy as in truth an aristocracy and points to the incompatibility of the democratic ideal with the premises of neoliberal policies and market thinking.
Van Reybrouck manages to convince the reader that drawing lots would be an effective way to breathe new life into our enfeebled democracy.
Henriette Roland-Holst Prize jury
Van Reybrouck argues with crystal clarity that drawing lots would be an effective way to revitalize our enfeebled democracy and ensure that citizens participate once more in the social structures that shape them and their lives.
Fluid and clear, the author’s approach is didactic yet never pedantic.
The author continually speaks to his readers and integrates their responses into his text by concurring with or contradicting them. This rhetorical strategy makes what he writes all the more convincing.
A book and a study of a kind of which there are all too few
‘Peace Be With You, Sister’ is the story of Muriel Degauque, a Belgian who became the first and only Western woman to carry out a suicide attack. She drove her white Mercedes from Brussels to Baghdad in order to blow herself up in the name of Allah.
Are we experiencing the dying throes of psychotherapy? Is Freud finished for good? Following a line of reasoning as subtle as it is logically necessary, Paul Verhaeghe shows how psychotherapy and the psychiatric profession have lost ground due to the combined effect of pseudo-scientific psychology and the corruptive influence of the pharmaceutical industry.
A talented writer, original and funny, who is definitely one to watch
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.