Author

Erik Vlaminck

Erik Vlaminck (b. 1954) writes autobiographically inspired prose and plays in which his experiences in psychiatric nursing and care for the homeless are incorporated. In 1992, the novel Quatertemperdagen (Ember Days) became the first in a six-part naturalistic family saga set partly in a village in Belgium and partly in Canada after the Second World War. The main character is a great-uncle whose unexpurgated stories stimulate the writer to delve into family secrets and long-concealed chronicles. The author himself also appears in the last part of Het schismatieke schrijven (Schismatic Writing, 2005), to explain his position and his intentions. Angélique (2003), a short story and stage monologue, is about a nun who was raped in the Congo who returns to Belgium, to miserable care. In the tradition of Louis Paul Boon he writes with great psychological insight about family and ordinary people. His penultimate novel, Suikerspin (Candyfloss) was received enthusiastically by the press. Erik Vlaminck teaches at the Writers’ Academy in Antwerp and chairs of the Association of Flemish Authors.

Candy Floss

Candy Floss

(Wereldbibliotheek, 2008, 286 pages)

In Suikerspin (Candy Floss), the impressive new novel by Erik Vlaminck, Jean-Baptist Van Hooylandt travels from fair to fair in the early twentieth century with his collection of live human curiosities. His most astonishing act is a ‘derodyme’, female Siamese twins, the refined Joséphine and the apathetic Anastasia. Fortunately, Anna, the owner of another fairground attraction, concerned about the twins, is often around to look after them. Even so, they die in dramatic circumstances in 1912. Anna then mothers Jean-Baptist’s son Albert.

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Burning Smell

Burning Smell

(Wereldbibliotheek, 2011, 244 pages)

In the little Canadian town of Saint Thomas there is a statue of the elephant Jumbo, star of a travelling circus, which saved the little elephant Tom Thumb from an oncoming train, so the story goes. Jumbo paid with his life, they say. A nice story, but only a myth. It symbolises the relationships within the Verkest family in the novel Brandlucht (Burning Smell), the surprising and moving tale of a family forced to live far from its native ground, its own language and history, in a place that will never feel like home.

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