Countless works of art, songs and books expore the mystery of love. Passionate love, calm love, unrequited love, forbidden love, broken hearts. Sometimes there is a happy ever after in the stories, but much more often love is also a source of worries and sorrows. And we love to read about that.
Below you will find a selection of books from Flanders that explore love in very different ways. No doubt there is a title in this list that will steal your heart. Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to find out more about these books and authors. We'd love to help you.
What is love? Is it still possible in this day and age to go through life as a couple? This exuberant and multifaceted piece that deliberately unsettles the reader offers the authors' destabilising, crazy and brilliant take on those universal questions.
Thomas is dead, but three people can still see him: his inconsolable mother, his beloved Orphee and his dying grandfather. This complex tangle of various lives and perspectives works perfectly. De Leeuw writes highly sensitive, keen prose with poignant images, and is painfully honest in showing that damaged, lonely people can be unreasonable and unkind, and that love can be an immense burden.
A captivating encounter with the remarkable Brontës
Lancashire Evening Post
In 1842 Charlotte Brontë goes to Brussels with her younger sister Emily to learn and teach, in the hope of starting her own private school. What exactly happened in Charlotte’s time in Brussels has never become completely clear... ‘Charlotte Brontë’s Secret Love’ is a Victorian flavoured book, with an omniscient narrator, which exudes a nineteenth-century, Brontë-esque atmosphere.
Skorobogatov carries you off and bewitches you with his lovely language ****
‘Portrait of an Unknown Girl’ is not only a powerful story of the beauty and tragedy of first love, but also an uncompromising portrait of an inhumane epoch and an oppressive regime that breaks people, punishes innocence and integrity and ruins lives.
A crucial book that will stir hearts and minds ****
Stefan Hertmans based the story of ‘The Convert’ on historical facts, and he brings the Middle Ages to life with immense imagination and stylistic ingenuity. This is the story of three religions and a world going through massive change, a story of hope, love and hatred, a novel about a woman who can be certain of one thing: at home the death penalty awaits.
Adam believes it’s his job to keep everything in the Garden of Eden, where he lives with Eve, in good order – to curb nature, that is. Eve is beginning to sigh more and she’s taking less pleasure in life. Keen to do something about it, Adam yields to Eve’s fatigue and stops his maintenance work. From then on, everything is allowed to grow rampant.
Full of colour, sounds, clear water, and pure poison
‘The Unexpected Answer’ is a sultry book, full of insatiable passion that explodes in the penultimate chapter ‘The Love Letter’, an amalgam of letter fragments written by the collective of women circling Godfried H., and ultimately a single woman who appears in different guises.
222 beautifully worded pages - Brijs pushes his boundaries as a writer.
Het Belang van Limburg
‘The Year of the Dog’ is a scintillating, often harrowing novel about love, lust, betrayal and the (im)possibility of close friendship between a man and a woman. It is Brijs’ very own version of ‘When Harry met Sally’.
Often preposterous, sometimes poignant and, above all, consistently charming
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.
‘She Alone’ is a story of a love between Western Europe and Islam, and a confrontation between and a merging of Europe and Islamic values, as well as a dystopic warning for Europe, and its growing fear of everything that is different.
A powerful look into the complexities of the human heart and prejudice *****
Comic Heroes Magazine
An enjoyable, flowing and exceptionally readable graphic novel about the author’s relationship with a Togolese political refugee. The story consists of two parts, in which we see the same relationship from two different perspectives. The visual narrative is vivid and follows a rhythm that matches the story perfectly.
The Very Tired Man and the Woman who Passionately Loved Bonsai
De Wereld Draait Door
A woman reads a wanted ad in the newspaper one day: “man seeks woman to die for”. When she rings the number, she hears someone sigh. She’s never heard such a beautiful sigh before.
In this picture book for adults, Kaatje Vermeire’s pictures and Peter Verhelst’s words each tell a story of their own. The reader combines the two, creating an artwork on every page.
A warm story you can relate to, skilfully written and illustrated
Bernie and Flora are a bear and a duck who like the same things and have been friends for years. A series of four books describes their adventures together. The books are an ode to friendship and love, and they also show how both characters need to have respect for each other’s individuality.
Masterful. Brilliantly evokes an important historical period
‘We Two Boys’begins in 1910 when the Flemish family De Belder is getting ready for their new future in the promised land, the United States of America. Eventually it is only the young Adrian, however, who makes it all the way to New York. Aline Sax sketches a lively and convincing portrait of New York City.
Every image has an unspoken meaning that lends tension to the story.
De Groene Amsterdammer
In a story imbued with the scent of cheap cigarettes and the sound of accordions and jukeboxes, André Sollie depicts a teenage boy’s overwhelming longing and the sadness of his surroundings. This is a sensitive and touching coming-of-age novel about a boy in search of love, affirmation and support.
Like every year, everyone gathers on the top of the hill. Ant is very happy that it is finally her turn to chair the meeting, in which they will discuss a difficult question. Elephant asks how you know that you love someone.
An elderly acting couple take stock of their love for each other and for their profession. All their productions are flops except one: a popular repertory classic about a pair of swearing and hard-drinking intellectuals that brings in money and audiences.
A woman and a man are standing side by side onstage; in the background the remnants of their living room, cold and bare. Side by side, but not together, they stare into space. Is there not a spark of love or passion left?
Hadewijch's Songs are the beating heart of Dutch-language literature. This mystic was the first woman in Europe to have dared to sing of mystical love in pure love poetry. Hadewijch created with astounding mastery and linguistic skill a mysticism of desire.