Thirty Days by Annelies Verbeke (tr. Liz Waters)

a nutshell: this layered novel imagines thirty days through the lens of Senegalese painter/decorator Alphonse, who glimpses the ‘interiors’ of his clients’ often chaotic lives in the Belgian countryside (the good and the very ugly)

a line: “And I don’t believe in hell. Not after death, anyhow.”

an image: at one point Alphone recalls his mother saying that everyone he’ll meet is a child, and the nicest people are those who are aware of it

a thought: this book took me an incredibly long time to read as I kept dipping in & out, perhaps because of the sheer quantity of things that happen in it – nonetheless Alphonse was one of the most likeable characters I’ve encountered in a long time

a fact: Verbeke is a Belgian writer who writes in Dutch, and this novel was chosen as the best Dutch-language novel of 2015 by readers of a Dutch newspaper

want to read Thirty Days? visit here

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