Category Archives: Belgium

Anita Shreve’s Resistance

I didn’t quite know what to expect when I started reading it, but I have to say that Anita Shreve’s novel Resistance (1995) is not half bad. There are things about it I didn’t like, but the truth is that … Continue reading

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Ben Elton’s The First Casualty

Ben Elton’s 2005 novel The First Casualty clearly advertises itself as a World War I novel. The poppy and the faded sepia photograph of soldiers wearing Brodie helmets are as clear indicators as you can get. But it really isn’t a … Continue reading

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Second sight: Ciaran Carson’s Shamrock Tea

Surprisinly enough (or perhaps not), relations between Belgium and Ireland go back a lot further than Ireland’s entry into the EEC in 1973 or than the founding of the Irish College in Leuven in 1607 when Leuven was part of … Continue reading

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The Lady and the Unicorn

There must be a long tradition of literature inspired by (real) paintings or photographs or other artworks. Two examples from among many others, I guess: W.H. Auden’s poem ‘Musée des Beaux-Arts’ was inspired by Brueghel’s The Fall of Icarus, and … Continue reading

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Expo 58 by Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe’s Expo 58 tells the story of Thomas Foley, a rather bland British civil servant who works for the Central Office of Information, as he is dispatched to the first World’s Fair since WWII. His role? To keep an … Continue reading

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Fiction set in Belgium: a very brief overview

Reading Teju Cole’s Open City (2011) the other day – part of which is set in Brussels, where the protagonist arrives shortly after the teenager Joe van Holsbeeck was killed for his MP3 player in the city’s central train station … Continue reading

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English books and bookshops in Brussels

Browsing in a second-hand bookshop, you never know what you’re going to come across, and that’s one of the things I like about them. If you want to sell books or give some away, this is also the place to … Continue reading

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