Thursday, 5 July 2018

WorldReads - Five Books from Belgium

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post as well-known as finding out how to join in the challenge.

Click the book titles or cover images to visit their Literary Flits book review pages. Or click the bookshop names to buy your own copy. (Bookshop links are affiliate links so I would earn a small commission from your purchase.)

This month we are going to Belgium!

Belgian literature is generally written in Dutch or French as these are its two main languages. I've included examples originally from both languages in this post, one of which I read in French, and have also chosen to highlight H A Leuschel who writes in English. As a smaller country surrounded by larger, powerful countries, Belgian culture incorporates a wide variety of influences which makes for interesting stories.


The Stain on the Snow by Georges Simenon

The Book Depository : from £11.43 (Audio CD)
Wordery : from £7.97 (PB)
Waterstones : from £7.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $1.89 / £0.01 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

At nineteen, Frank Friedmaier is thief, pimp and murderer. He has never known his father, his mother keeps a brothel. His mind is cold and inhospitable. But Simenon reveals the obsession with self-torture that lurks within it, and explores the intricate psychology of a young criminal, even lending the repellent Frank a chilling grandeur as he faces remorseless interrogation and his fate. A bleak and brilliant masterpiece from Simenon at his superlative best.

Quatre Moi En Mer by Said

Loïc Shultz voulait partir loin, abandonner la réalité. 
Mais c'est la réalité qui l'abandonna, le jour où il apprit que sa vie était un film.

Loic Schultz wants to go far away, abandoning reality. But it is reality that abandons him on the day he learns that his life is a film.

Thirty Days by Annelies Verbeke

The Book Depository : from £11.50 (PB)
Wordery : from £11.15 (PB)
Waterstones : from £11.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $2.99 / £0.50 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Alphonse, funny, observant, and imaginative, is a former musician who has left Brussels with his girlfriend Cat to live near her parents in the buttoned-up rural district of Westhoek. It has open fields, wide low skies, more World War I graves than almost anywhere else in Europe—and one of the highest suicide rates in the Western world. Alphonse starts a new life as a handyman. As he paints and decorates the interior of people's homes he gets to know their complex emotional lives—their affairs, familty disturbances, messy divorces, everyday cruelties, and unexpected dreams. But when he, Cat, and a client help a group of Afghans and Syrians at a makeshift refugee camp, he learns that not all locals appreciate their work.

My Sweet Friend by H A Leuschel

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $1.33 / £0.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships. 
But is Alexa all she claims to be? 
As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

We And Me by Saskia De Coster

The Book Depository : from £11.87 (PB)
Wordery : from £11.21 (PB)
Waterstones : from £11.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.31 / £0.01 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

On a private estate near the top of a mountain lives the Vandersanden family. Neurotic, aristocratic Mieke grooms her carpets while keeping a close eye on her family and her neighbours. Her husband, the self-made man Stefaan, is building up a career in a pharmaceutical company which is threatened by scandal. Daughter Sarah, overprotected by her parents and curious for the real life, is finding her own path; like a contemporary Madame Bovary or an Anna Karenina, she longs for freedom and individuality. But will she find an escape from the claustrophobic family dramas and secrets that surround her?

That's it for July's WorldReads from Belgium. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Belgian-authored books! If you fancy buying any of the five I have suggested, clicking through the links from this blog to do so would mean I earn a small commission payment.

You can join in my WorldReads Challenge at any time! Simply read 1 or more books from a different country each month, write a post about it/them, grab the button below and add it to your post. Don't forget to pop back here and Comment your link so I can visit!

Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, I have already 'visited' America, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

In August I will be highlighting five books by Iraqi authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!


  1. We and Me and Thirty Days sound fantastic to me. Thanks for the suggestions.

    1. Thirty Days was my favourite of those two. I hope you get to try one of them :-)

  2. Such a great idea. They all sound interesting.

  3. The Stain on the Snow sounds extraordinary! And Thirty Days does sound very interesting. Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. I was surprised by The Stain On The Snow. It was very different to what I expected.

  4. My Sweet Friend has me curious. Enjoy Belgium this month :-)

    1. My Sweet Friend is a great short read, cleverly done and convincing :-)

  5. I like this feature! Nice to see reads from around the world. I think Thirty Days and My Sweet Friend both sound really interesting.