Bontenakel proves that he is a superb storyteller ****
A natural disaster is destroying Cape Ursus, a remote island in the middle of the North-Atlantic. The small community that lives there in the late nineteenth century is descended from castaways and has to fend for itself. Young teacher Ellie dreams of leaving the island, but her mother’s dementia is stopping her. And then she discovers someone else with serious plans to leave the island.
Janzing draws you into an Impressionist painting and makes you part of the scene ****
Late nineteenth century: Léonie Osterrieth organizes salons in her grand townhouse. She has a soft spot for explorers and wants to help Adrien de Gerlache to become the first human being to overwinter on the South Pole. Thanks to her, the Belgica sets sail from the port of Antwerp. Drawing on the correspondence between Léonie and her entourage, Janzing reconstructs the experiences of captain and crew.
A heart-rending, silent scream, a struggle with the giants known as hurt and loss and an attempt to say the unsayable.
After seven years Mari is still in deep mourning for Tully, her deafblind sister for whom she was like a mother. She decides to leave her husband Felix at home and sets off on a walk towards the sea, in search of a new beginning. During her journey, she meets some remarkable people, who encourage her to formulate profound insights into mourning, relationships with others and the inadequacy of language.
Personal, genuinely interested and unbiased. No wonder that the people she speaks to are prepared to open up to her.
The Orthodox-Jewish community continues to capture the imagination. In ‘Minyan’, Margot Vanderstraeten gives the reader a glimpse into this world by interviewing several prominent figures. As she reports on her Hasidic neighbours, who live so close yet whose lives are so different, her tone is sometimes serious, sometimes light-hearted, but always genuinely involved.
Stunning. A splendid, compulsive reading experience
The young, headstrong Saba wants to go to school, whereas her brother Hagos is unable to speak, read and write. The siblings, who have an extremely close bond, both refuse to conform to the roles imposed on them by gender and society. A compelling, vivid novel about the everyday challenges, feelings, intimacy, hopes and fears of refugees in an East-African camp.
Beautiful! It’s hard not to be moved by the tender bond between brother and sister.
Nour is seven and incurably ill. But she keeps smiling and playing, whenever possible. While her parents are completely focused on her illness, the girl is growing closer to her older brother. He tells her stories to try and take her mind off the pain. Brother and sister imagine a universe of their own in which they are safe and connected. An ode to imagination, written in pared down language, somewhere between poetry and prose.
Loveling gives us an uncompromising, heart-rending glimpse into the emotions of someone who repeatedly gets the short end of the stick in life.
Marie and her sister Georgine, who is eleven years younger, live together in the family home after the death of their parents. Both sisters fall in love with their neighbour Luc Hancq, but he strings them along, leading to his murder and Marie's madness. In this brilliantly structured book, with its virtuoso use of perspective, Loveling takes the reader on a harrowing journey through the protagonist’s psyche.
In the playful numbers book ‘What’s In That Hat?’, celebrated illustrator Judith Vanistendael joins forces with typesetter Peter De Roy. The two use basic wooden blocks designed to create woodcuts and Vanistendael conjures up animals in coloured pencil. The end result is a seemingly simple, but ingenious little book.
JURY OF THE SILVER AND GOLD PAINT BRUSHES ON ‘CIRCUS NIGHT’
A little girl goes swimming with her mother and dreams about all the things she’ll dare to do when she’s bigger. She makes wild plans and dreams big, but secretly she’s glad she can be small for a while yet. ‘Later When I’m Big’ is a poetic book in which reality and fantasy overlap.
Lola is clever. Very clever. She solves every single problem with her inventions. But there’s one problem she doesn’t have a solution for: her little brother Lander seems sad. Why doesn’t he want to play with her? In her colourful drawings, Debroey shows that knowledge can be for everyone and that you’ve always got something to learn, no matter how clever you are.
A sea of beauty. It’s difficult to imagine a more beautiful plea for love.
Penguin crosses the ocean to the house of his friend Bear. He wants to tell him a big secret, so big that it will change everything: he’s in love with Bear. Even the most hard-hearted of readers will be captivated by this love story for its humour and the playful, exceptional use of colour. ‘A Sea of Love’ shows that love is love, no matter who you are.
Little Mouse is running through the woods, trying to find granddad. Owl seems to know where granddad is and offers Little Mouse pride of place at his table. But Little Mouse soon discovers that Owl has other plans. ‘Little Mouse’s Big Adventure’ is a thrilling adventure and a gripping, heart-warming and humorous story to read to children.
A multi-layered and dynamic adventure, full of surprises and ingenuity
A boy writes a letter to a girl. But just as he’s about to post the letter, a sudden gust of wind takes off with it. At the end of the book, the girl herself is also writing a letter. She gives it to her pigeon, which traverses the book in the opposite direction: from back to front. And so the last page becomes the first.
A work of art full of tiny and often funny details
Het Laatste Nieuws
Peter Goes delves into the science and myths surrounding the most important star in our galaxy. In beautifully composed spreads that brim with ingenious details, he throws light on the knowledge and convictions of people including the ancient Greeks, the Aztecs and the inhabitants of the Indus Valley, and describes the scientific developments of more recent times. ‘The Sun’ is a new highpoint in Goes’ oeuvre.
A tale of exceptional beauty. Moving, tender, thoughtful and unique
A postman at sea befriends an enormous, ancient whale which carries an entire library inside her belly. When two extremely talented professionals join forces, the result is bound to be impressive. Zidrou’s poetic and playful fable about the importance of inspiring stories is lifted to an even higher level by Judith Vanistendael, whose gorgeous paintings depict the characters and their surroundings with great love and tenderness.
Ruben’s grandfather Emiel is eighty-five and becoming more and more forgetful. Clearing out is dead wife's things triggers quite a few half-memories in him. Marita de Sterck tells a story of memory and love, and the pain caused, and eased, by both.
Shady has just one goal in life: to get attention. That’s the same, after all, as love and recognition. Both narcissistic and subject to crippling insecurity, he lives a life full of drama. ‘Shady’ is a merciless examination of our cultural and human depravities, and a real feast for the eye.
An engaging, intimate and expressive portrait of two women, with exciting and vivid drawings
This extraordinary graphic novel tells the story of two women at a crossroads in their lives. Rita, a middle-aged woman who has just got divorced, challenges herself by becoming a nude model in drawing classes given by Esther. Vulnerability and courage, looking and being looked at, daring to be naked and closeness are all central themes.
Maarten De Saeger confirms his status as a top talent.
Cutting Edge on ‘The Drifter’
A group of blind people takes a daytrip into the woods. They are led by an older, sighted guide. When he suddenly turns out to have vanished, the group tries to pass the time, but they edge closer and closer to panic. Based on a play by Belgium’s only winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Maurice Maeterlinck, ‘The Blind’ is an intriguing drama and an intense visual experience.
Extremely funny, sometimes touching and of course exceptionally well-drawn.
Brecht Evens brilliantly subverts the conventions of the fairy-tale and fantasy genres in ‘Idulfania’. Populated by trolls, giants, kings, witches and dwarves, Idulfania is a land where high hopes tend to be quickly and painfully dashed. Dark humour at its best.