May 24th, 2002


Herman Brusselmans - Patiënt H.B. (02-013)

Brusselmans is one of the best authors I know. He is from Belgium, hardly gets translated into other languages, though seeing that his style is fairly unique, a lot of it would lose in translation anyway. Next to that, some of his books deal with local issues. Being Dutch, I even find it hard to understand what he means. Brusselmans is a great producer, if his publisher wouldn't stop him, he would publish a few books every year. Not small ones either, some of his bigger novels put Dostojevski to shame. One of his many talents is to write chapters continuously about nothing. Sounds incredibly easy, but done well, this is very entertaining, only few people can reach the heights he does then. Some of his first books are incredible. Over the years (at least 15 now), I have tried to read everything he writes. It is a near impossible task. He writes columns in magazines I can't get, he writes stories for special edition pockets, he writes novels and essays.

This particular book is a special edition. Limited even, only 500 of this title have been made. So as a fan I was lucky to bump into it. It is not extraordinarily well written, but it is unique, hence I'm proud I've got it on my shelf. 34 pages, a few stories. The stories are about his own life, as so many of his previous books were. Not that his life is that exciting, sitting in bars, talking to strangers and locals. Being at home, considering what to do. Secret crushes on beauties that are unreachable. All the ingredients are here. The brilliant thing is that he mixes fact with fiction. Some of the bars he visits actually exist. Some of the people he talks about also. Other things are made up, there is a thin line between fact and fiction. Brusselmans is the tightropewalker on that line. And he is the master.
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