The misfortunates by Dimitri Verhulst

The misfortunates by Dimitri Verhulst

Belgian fiction

Translator David Colmer

Dimitri Verhulst is a Belgian writer and he grew up in a broken home and spent a lot of time in foster care .This is often reflected in his fiction .He has written several novel and short stories .The misfortunates ,was made into a film in 2009.The film won a prize in Cannes .

I add the trailer ,which to me seems to capture the character in the book so well .We follow Dimmy the son he is at school and is at a point where he could follow his father and his uncles into a life of drink and misadventures or he could put his head down and study .Now we follow a period as Dimmy begins to see his family are maybe a little different from the normal family .That time as you turn from a child to a teen and a young man ,he is 13 as this happens .

The male members of the Dimmy’s  family,  Dimmy’s father and his uncle’s Potrel ,Herman and Grider  spend a lot of time drinking in the pub  and ending up doing thinks because of the drink like having a naked cycle race this made me smile as I love cycling and the fact that grown men decide to copy the men they seen by doing it naked was funny .They did this as Dimmy was getting drawn towards cycling and being more disciplined in his life .Now Will of Just William compared it to Shameless with chips and Mayo .Which I agree with ,I also got visions of saturday night sunday morning and a hard-edged version of the northern Kitchen sink drama relocate to Belgium and scripted by Irvine Welsh . As the quote below shows this is even linked in the book .

It was only later ,when I read Alan Silltoe’s best known work ,The loneliness of the long distance runner ,that I realized that it had been pure logic that had turned me into a runner as a child .

I loved this quote linking his life a bit with Kitchen sink drama classic loneliness of long distance runner .

 

This book has a feel of a roman a clef  slammed with a coming of age novel .I feel this is Dimitri looking back in some ways to the point he became the writer he is now ,a Robert Frost moment take the trodden path that his family has taken or that unknown one that he seems more drawn too .The book can tug at the heartstrings this is a tough world ,but also a world that has a certain pathos to it .

I enjoyed this book ,I felt this was a very realistic book  given the writers own history ,I read an  interview with him here ,which was interesting in both a small insight into him and also an insight into Belgium .As it is mainly about the Flemish/Wallonia divide that has appeared in recent years in Belgium .I really want to watch the film and hope it gets shown or a uk DVD  release which it hasn’t seemed to as of yet .

 

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Bookish deeds a film and lend

well last night I had a great night at home with the Amanda but had two great bookish moments away from reading books the first was a film that was new to me that was on the sky premier film channel so a newish film it was called Eleanors secret ,a French Animation with english language soundtrack .We follow Natanael a seven year old boy that is afraid to read aloud and this is effecting his school work ,so on the way to his late aunts house where he spent many happy summers with her reading to him from her library of first editions fairy tales and classics .She left him this library and the secret that goes with it .I don’t have kids but I fell this is a film to inspire kids to read and to a book junkie like me was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours with my darling wife .I m sorry I picked german trailer first as it much better than the english one I found gives better idea of the book .But have include the english one as well .

My second bookish event last night was minor but to me a thrill I borrowed my first e-book from our library system I didn’t know Derbyshire even  had a e library well we do it’s not terribly big but there is a number of books there I wanted to read but most were out on loan so I choose Arctic chill by Arnaldur Indridason as I have it on my shelves if I don’t finish it on my I pad in time .

Have you borrowed a e-book ?

What bookish things your discovered recently ?

Man asian Literary prize 2012 shortlist

Well this came out earlier this week but two night shifts really caught me earlier this week so I m a day or two late her is the short list .

2011 Shortlist

Here are mine and my fellow Man Asian Shadow jurors reviews of the short lisrted books –

Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke. Reviews by MattMarkLisa and me.

The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto. Reviews by MattSueLisa, and Mark.

Please Look After Mother by Kyung-Sook Shin. [Note: US editions are entitled Please Look After Mom.] Reviews by MattLisaMark, and Stu.

Rebirth by Jahnavi Barua. Reviews by Stu and me.

River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh. Reviews by LisaMark, and Matt.

The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya. Reviews by Mark,Lisa, and me.

The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad. Reviews by LisaStuMark, and Sue.

As you see every book has a couple of reviews .I hope to have some of the others review here before the prize day that I ve not got too yet .I ve a favourite in my mind but want to wait and see if the books I ve not read blow me away If any one has spare copies of the river of smoke or lake I d love to borrow or swao them .

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