Author

Tom Lanoye

Tom Lanoye (b. 1958) is one of the most popular and well regarded Flemish authors. He started out as a poet and a critic, but became famous with his prose, drama, politically and socially engaged columns and his performances. Abroad, particularly in Germany, he is highly regarded as a script writer. His debut as a fiction writer was Een slagerszoon met een brilletje (A Butcher’s Son with Glasses). After Alles moet weg (Everything Must Go, 1988, filmed in 1996), he established his reputation once and for all with Kartonnen dozen (Cardboard Boxes, 1991), an autobiographical novel about becoming aware of his homosexuality. His most important work until now, about the eventful nineties in Belgium, which Flemish television turned into a ten part series, was the award-winning Monstertrilogie (Monster Trilogy, 1997-2002). Het derde huwelijk (The Third Marriage, 2006) was nominated for the Libris Literature Prize and the Gouden Uil.

The Divine Monster

(Prometheus, 1997, 340 pages)

In an interview Tom Lanoye once perfectly summed up the ambiguity of his attitude to the place of his birth: ‘Flanders fills me with great abhorrence and admiration: I write about the banal and sublime things I encounter here’. This paradox is reflected in the title of Lanoye’s latest novel: Het goddelijke monster. For Tom Lanoye, political wrongs and corruption function as a metaphor for human weakness, and in his work that weakness is called Belgium. The country is a ‘divine monster’ with many faces and the same can be said of the main character of Lanoye’s latest novel.

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Black Tears

(Prometheus, 1999, 520 pages)

Zwarte tranen is the second novel in a cycle which began with Lanoye’s Het goddelijke monster (1997). We don’t know yet how many more will follow, but whoever reads Zwarte tranen will eagerly look forward to the next, largely because of the soap-like nature of the family dramas involved, set against the background of the scandals which have plagued Belgium for the last few years. As a columnist, Lanoye has always made his opinions abundantly clear, and he frequently takes upon himself the role of the intellectual conscience of Belgium. In this book Lanoye the columnist, the literary performer (with stress on fun in literature), the playwright (his magnificent Shakespeare rendering Ten

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Evil Tongues

Evil Tongues

(Prometheus, 2002, 437 pages)

Tom Lanoye (born 1958) published the first part of an ambitious trilogy in 1997 Het goddelijke monster (The Divine Monster), aimed at establishing his reputation as a novelist besides the renown he already enjoyed as a columnist and playwright. In much the same way as Hugo Claus projected wartime and post-war Belgium in Het verdriet van België (The Sorrow of Belgium, 1983) and Walter van den Broeck described the country for the benefit of King Boudewijn in Het beleg van Laken (1985-1992), Tom Lanoye has charted Belgium in the nineties.

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The Third Marriage

The Third Marriage

(Prometheus, 2006, 337 pages)

‘And what isn’t useful, simply disappears. No questions asked.’ Het derde huwelijk (The Third Marriage), Tom Lanoye’s sixth novel, opens with this hard truth; hard because Maarten Seebregs, the main character, is not a ‘useful’ person.

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Speechless

Speechless

(Prometheus, 2009, 359 pages)

Tom Lanoye’s successful and well- received novel, Sprakeloos (Speechless), tells the story of the life and death of the author’s parents, particularly his mother’s. It starts with an appealing lament about the effort it took him to write about them, questioning his methods and the result. The main theme of the story that follows is the final years of his mother’s life.

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