The Melting by Lize Spit

The Melting by Lize Spit

Belgium fiction

Original title – Het Smelt

Translator Kristen Gehrman

Source – review copy

This book was a big hit around Europe when it came out Lize spit debut novel won Hebban debut fiction prize and was snapped up for a film within days of it coming out which isn’t surprising at the Brussels film school she studied screenwriting there is a strong cinematic feel to the book. She said in an interview on the flemish literature site that she grew up in a house where there was no Tv till she was eleven and she grew up reading books after school and would run home every day to find out what was going in the books she was reading. What she has done here is taken to classic genres The coming of age novel and a thriller as we meet Eva a woman with a secret in her past.

In the summer of 1993, right before Laurens, pim and I finished preschool and started kindergarten,a letter was sent around to all of the teachers at the primary school and our six parents: a meeting had been planned , and the presence was required.

In the meeting, Beatrice the school principal, got right to the point. How it was possible that only three babes were borning 1988? Was it the cold winter, the hot summer, the black monday tyhe previous October that made couple take it easy in the bedroom for a while? Why were so few children born that year? Her school was the smallest in the region, with an average class size of ten(One of its greatest assests in her oponion)

So from an early age the the three Musketeers were together since a very young age !

There is a huge block of ice in the back of Eva’s car as she is heading back to the small town she grown up in she had an invite to a new milking parlor opening which has become a large event in the small town. The invite is from Pim one of her two best friends growing up. Pim lost his older brother as they were growing up something that Eva in the present keeps thinking about as she heads home for the first time in a long time. Laurens her other friend the three of them called themselves the three musketeers as they started growing into men and women one summer they started to ask each girl in the village a question about the sort of things kids do as they are discovering themselves and entering puberty. The story unfolds in the past that summer that it all changed for the three main characters the reason Eva has the ice in her car and her wanting revenge for the day her world changed. Then we see the present as Eva heads back to her family which is a mother that never stood up to her father a dominant man and thus this made her older sister a neurotic. As the ice slowly melts what happened is told and what will happen is told side by side.

Pim’s parents always let us play anywhere we wanted on the farm, but there were four places that were off-limits: the left side of the hayloft (The hay was too thin there, and we might fall through), the garage with the floor pit(the wood cover was rotten and dangerous). The septic tank grates in the old cowshed(no longer reliable), and the white mounds, That they were never given a reason for the last one, We were simply told that they were forbidden territory, even though they looked so innocent and inviting.

Once at a birthday party, Laurens rested his foto on the white plastic. Pim yanked him to the ground by the hood of his jacketso hard that it ripped off the snaps.

What are the white Mounds in the famers fileld that is now Pims field

The use of the two timelines is so well-paced the past unfolds as we see Eva heading in the present back into her past as she heads home for the first time the past is a tale of growing up but like over tales from Lord of the Flies to something like the dinner what happens when those events when young men and women are at that turning point in their puberty where a single moment can change the course of a number of lives this is what happened here the second timeline is a wonderful slow-burning thriller storyline of revenge viewed through Eva’s eyes as she heads home after 13 years. I said in the first part that she had studied screenwriting you can see and also her love of reading books that left her wanting more there is a lot of chapters ends here that make you want to read on. She has also used that twist that has been in a number of thrillers that have been made into films in recent years In particular two I’m thinking of are gone girl and the girl on the train which also in films at least had various strands to the storyline. but also had similar pacing to this book I can see why the film rights sold straight away the characters are painted well enough but it is the action and eye for detail she has that make it flows off the page so if you’d like a cocktail of gone girl, lord of the flies with a dab of Dumas thrown in this is the book for you.

Winstons Score – B a solid thriller with a great coming of age tale in a small farming village.



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June 2021


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