Via The Guardian zagen de lijst van boeken die uitgeverij Dedalus gemaakt had van de beste Europese boeken, uitgegeven door onafhankelijke uitgeverijen in Engeland. De keus is discutabel natuurlijk, maar het laat wel zien wat de kracht van onafhankelijke uitgeverijen in binnen en buitenland kan zijn. Zo vlak voor het referendum over Europa koos Dedalus uit elk land twee boeken (België mocht er vier leveren; twee Vlaamse, twee Waalse).

De Vlaamse boeken waren:

Christ’s Entry into Brussels by Dimitri Verhulst, translated by David Colmer(Portobello)

It is announced that Jesus Christ is to visit Belgium in a few weeks time, on its national day, the 21st of July. Coincidentally, our narrator’s mother dies and his marriage ends. Feeling very low, and fluctuating between resentment, irony and cynicism, he reports on the events and on the behaviour of his compatriots.This novel is a deeply disillusioned state-of-the-Belgian-nation rant. We may think we excel at national self-flagellation but Verhulst’s sustained (and blackly funny) assault on the citizens of Brussels trumps all.

Marcel by Erwin Mortier, translated by Ina Rilke (Pushkin)

Once the family favourite, Marcel died before his time and now lies far away in an unmarked grave. But his photograph still stands in pride of place on the family cabinet, lovingly guarded by an old woman. Her young grandson, who so resembles his smiling relative, is haunted by the mystery of Marcel’s life and death. Family secrets, lies and half-truths fold in on one another. Marcel is a sharp, lyrical depiction of the murky attitude of the living towards the dead, and of how past betrayals will live on through the generations.

Bij de Nederlandse boeken vinden we een echte klassieker:

Eline Vere by Louis Couperus, translated by Ina Rilke (Pushkin)

Couperus has often been called the Dutch Oscar Wilde and he is certainly one of the most interesting Dutch authors of his period. Eline Vere and her sister Betsy are wealthy young socialites living in The Hague in the 19th century. Eline attempts to break free from the confines of her narrow existence through tumultuous and ultimately disastrous courtships. This classic novel minutely described the conventions, manners and hypocrisies of society with great richness of description and vivid characterisations.

The Twins by Tessa de Loo, translated by Ruth Levitt (Arcadia)

It tells a compelling story of Anna and Lotte twin sisters who following the death of their parents are separated at a very early age. Lotte is sent to stay with her relatives in the Netherlands to recuperate from tuberculosis and Anna stays with relatives in Germany. The story begins with a chance meeting at the health resort of Spa. Both sisters are now in their 70s and have lost contact with each other and in the intervening years the Second World War has taken place. Thus evolves a tale of human suffering, spanning many decades, from both the German and Dutch perspectives, including the hardships endured in the war.

Zie de rest van de lijst hier.

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