Skip to main content

Most translated fiction

These are the 12 most translated Flemish novels! Do you want to know more about fiction from Flanders? Read all about it in the essay A typically Flemish novel.

  • 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 verdriet van België
    The greatest classic in Flemish literature
    Cover Het verdriet van België
    The greatest classic in Flemish literature
    The Sorrow of Belgium
    One of the landmark European novels of the post-war era
    J.M. Coetzee

    This Bildungsroman is also a social document about political and social misfortune in Flanders before, during, and after World War II. The novel has continued to be a bestseller for many years and has been translated into numerous languages.

  • Cover War and Turpentine
    NY Times Favourite
    Cover War and Turpentine
    NY Times Favourite
    War and Turpentine
    One of the 10 best books of 2016
    The New York Times

    Right before his death in the 1980s, Stefan Hertmans’ grandfather gave his grandson a few notebooks. For years, Hertmans was too afraid to open them – until he finally did and laid bare some unexpected secrets.

  • Cover Sleep!
    Most translated debut
    Cover Sleep!
    Most translated debut
    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 of The Misfortunates
    400,000 copies sold
    Cover of The Misfortunates
    400,000 copies sold
    The Misfortunates
    Continually surprises and intrigues
    The Guardian

    In a forgotten village somewhere in Flanders, a boy lives with his father and three uncles in his grandmother’s house. They’re an ill-mannered and coarse bunch, unpredictable heavy drinkers. Wallowing at the bottom of the social ladder, their lives are a total mess.

  • Cover of The Angel Maker
    Cover of The Angel Maker
    The Angel Maker
    Unerring and compassionate
    De Telegraaf

    Geneticist Victor Hoppe returns after an absence of nearly twenty years to the village of Wolfheim. The doctor brings with him his infant children – three identical boys all sharing the same disfigurement. ‘The Angel Maker’ is a chilling story that explores the ethical limits of science and religion.

  • 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.

  • The Coming of Joachim Stiller
    Our foremost representative of magical realism
    NRC Handelsblad

    Journalist Freek Groenevelt’s life is thoroughly shaken up by a series of surprising events that seem to all revolve around an individual called Joachim Stiller. The novel is a textbook example of the magic realist style in which reality is interwoven with surreal elements: nothing is exactly as it seems.

  • Cover The Guard
    EU Prize for Literature
    Cover The Guard
    EU Prize for Literature
    The Guard
    A tremendous novel, often horrifically funny and always unsettling
    Irish Times

    ‘The Guard’ is set largely in the underground car park of a luxurious block of flats. Two guards, are never relieved. Terrin tells a strongly allegorical story of 21st century society. ‘The Guard’ is not only an enthralling psychological novel, but also encompasses oppressiveness, emotion and sensuality.

  • Cover A Day with Mr. Jules
    250,000 copies sold
    Cover A Day with Mr. Jules
    250,000 copies sold
    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 Pallieter
    1 million copies sold
    Cover Pallieter
    1 million copies sold
    Read it. You will laugh. You will cry, too.
    Rainer Maria Rilke

    An ‘ode to life’ written after a moral and physical crisis, ‘Pallieter’ was warmly received as an antidote to the misery of World War I in occupied Belgium. ‘Pallieter’ is a portrait of Flemish rural life in which there is never a cheerless moment.

  • 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...