Author

Patricia de Martelaere

Patricia de Martelaere (b. 1957) is a writer and professor of philosophy. Between 1988 and 1992 she published four novels: Nachtboek van een slapeloze (Night Book of an Insomniac, 1988), De schilder en zijn model (The Painter and His Model, 1989), Littekens (Scars, 1990), and De staart (The Tail, 1992). In 1994 her collection of essays Een verlangen naar ontroostbaarheid (A Longing for Inconsolability) received the J. Greshoff Award. In 1997 she published another essay collection, Verrassingen (Surprises), which earned her the Belgian State Prize for Essay and Criticism. In 2004, more than a decade after her last novel had appeared, she surprised her readers with Het onverwachte antwoord (The Unexpected Answer), which was nominated for both the AKO and Libris Literature Prizes.

Surprises

Surprises

(J.M. Meulenhoff, 1997, 189 pages)

Philosophical essays are not particularly popular as a genre, which makes the great success in Flanders and the Netherlands of Patricia de Martelaere’s first collection of essays, Een verlangen naar ontroostbaarheid (A Longing for Inconsolability), which sold over 15,000 copies, all the more surprising.

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The Unexpected Answer

The Unexpected Answer

(J.M. Meulenhoff, 2004, 286 pages)

With The Unexpected Answer Patricia De Martelaere illustrates her claim that language is ‘not a tool’ but ‘material’ to an author. In the novel, she does not allow the writer, philosopher, husband, lover, and father Godfried H. to speak, but makes him instead the subject of six texts written from the points of view of the women who play a role in his life. The first draws his portrait. Initially she keeps her distance, later she embarks on an unexpected and brief relationship with him.

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