The Auctioneer

Full of unexpected twists

One striking factor of Walter van den Broeck is that he often appears as a character in his own novels. In his latest, De veilingmeester (The Auctioneer), he shows his lighter side, being visited by Bo van Dorselaer who asks him to write about his crazy and incredible story.

Bo van Dorselaer is an auctioneer asked to sell the contents of a house by a young woman to whom he is immediately attracted.

Inside the house he finds three hundred copies of The Heiress, written by the unknown Walda van den Brogel; they contain a code, the key to a great secret. In his dogged pursuit of the remaining copies that were printed Bo forces up the price, but he is prepared to risk his business, and even his marriage for the secret. The dénouement is stunning: the young woman, with whom Bo has fathered a child, is the natural daughter of the supposedly childless King Baudouin of Belgium.

What does a writer do with a story like that? As is often the case, Van den Broeck plays ironically with reality, using references to his earlier work, revelations about the Belgian royal family and pure fiction, to create a popular bibliographic thriller. In exposing both the technique and impact of novels, Van den Broeck subtly criticises the craft of writing. De veilingmeester is a clever, compelling novel, full of unexpected twists that show the fun that the author had in writing it.

Van den Broeck continues to come up with original, glittering stories with the structure of reinforced concrete.



De veilingmeester (2007). Fiction, 367 pages.


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