Author

Kristien Hemmerechts

Emotional relationships are often the central theme of Kristien Hemmerechts’s (b. 1955) work, imperfect relationships between men and women, or between parents and children. Her characters’ longing for security and the fulfilment of profound but ill-defined desires, lands them in an emotional labyrinth. Her best known novels are Brede heupen (Wide Hips, 1989), Zonder grenzen (No Boundaries 1991), Wit zand (White Sand, 1993), Veel vrouwen, af en toe een man (Lots of Women, a Man Now and Then, 1995), Margot en de engelen (Margot and the Angels, 1997) and Donderdagmiddag. Halfvier. (Thursday Afternoon: Three Thirty, 2002).

Margot and the Angels

(Atlas, 1997, 238 pages)

What’s the use of parental good advice once the children have stopped listening? The advice says more about those who give it than those it’s meant for. Kristien Hemmerechts’s new novel Margot en de engelen starts five weeks after Margot, the seventeen-year-old daughter of Dave and Sofie, has left home with the entire contents of her bank account, leaving only a farewell fax in which she asks her parents to grant her a period of silence.

Read more

Language Without Me

(Atlas, 1998, 150 pages)

In Taal zonder mij Kristien Hemmerechts calls herself ‘the inadequate ghostwriter’ of the autobiography of her deceased husband, the poet Herman de Coninck. Hemmerechts shows exquisitely how it is to lose the one closest to you and how he in his absolute and definitive absence, remains impossibly the closest. From the beginning Hemmerechts shows her awareness of the pitfalls of writing a ‘widow’s book’. ‘Keeping silent is safer than speaking,’ she writes, ‘I vacillate between the need to speak and the longing to be silent; to keep my memories of him, my Herman, intact through silence.’

Read more
Arthur’s Children

Arthur’s Children

(Atlas, 2000, 286 pages)

Kristien Hemmerechts based De kinderen van Arthur on the English documentary 7Up, in which the current lives and future expectations of a group of people are portrayed every seven years, creating an intriguing picture of their development. In her novel, Hemmerechts describes the Flemish counterpart of the British series, 7-plus, which traces the lives of ten children from very different backgrounds who were all born in 1957. The result is a kaleidoscopic portrait of Belgian society.

Read more
Thursday Afternoon: Three Thirty.

Thursday Afternoon: Three Thirty.

(Atlas, 2002, 237 pages)

Hemmerechts’ novels appear to emerge organically from her pen, never following a strict scheme but taking the reader on an intriguing psychological voyage of discovery. She owes her success in part to the familiarity of her characters, and not least a realistic and candid eroticism. With her consistent flow of publications Kristien Hemmerechts has built up an impressive literary oeuvre revealing an interesting and surprising perspective on human emotions.

Read more
The Last Time

The Last Time

(Atlas, 2004, 286 pages)

In The Last Time the reader sees through the eyes of Yoko Debondt, who has survived a serious accident the previous year in which she lost her husband. Since then, Yoko has been in ‘a no-man’s land’, ‘a shadowy, grey waiting room’. She finds support in a good friend of the family, David, who is amiable, well mannered and loyal, but also a bit dull. One day, Yoko picks up a scruffy hitchhiker, Hichi, who’s completely different from David. She takes him home with her, feeds and clothes him and goes to bed with him, but neither he nor David, will do as a replacement for her dead husband.

Read more
Gitte

Gitte

(De Geus, 2011, 319 pages)

The new novel Gitte by Kristien Hemmerechts is undoubtedly a further highpoint to her oeuvre. In a captivating story about the long-ago murder of a forest ranger she confronts her characters with the question: Can evil be hereditary? In part one Gitte, an adolescent in an apparently harmonious family, is living near the French border, close to nature. Her elder brother Woud is thrown out of balance by an incident in the forest and to everyone’s surprise his mother, a therapist, takes him straight to a psychiatric institution. It becomes clear that she is suffering the aftershocks of a broken-off relationship with a poet years earlier.

Read more

Translations

Website

http://auteurs.degeus.nl/hemm…