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Books by Erwin Mortier

  • While the Gods Were Sleeping

    Erwin Mortier

    Product Code: AOMZK
    Paperback
    'It sounds dreadful,' I said to him one day. 'But actually the war is the best thing that ever happened to me.' Helena's mother always said she was a born poetess. It was not a compliment. Now an old woman, Helena looks back on her life and tries to capture the past, filling notebook after notebook with memories of her respectable, rigid upbringing, her unyielding mother, her loyal father, her golden-haired brother. She remembers how, at their uncle's country house in the summer of 1914, their stately bourgeois life of good manners, white linen and afternoon tea collapsed into ruins. And how, with war, came a kind of liberation amidst the mud and rubble-and the appearance of a young English photographer who transformed her existence. Lyrical and tender, filled with images of blazing intensity, While the Gods Were Sleeping asks how it is possible to record the dislocation of war; to describe the indescribable. It is a breathtaking novel about the act of remembering, how the past seeps into our lives and how those we have lost leave their trace in the present.
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  • Stammered Songbook

    Erwin Mortier

    Product Code: AMRDS
    Paperback
    'My mother, a house that is slowly collapsing, a bridge dancing to a tremor.' It started when she could no longer remember the word for 'book'. Then her mind, her language and her identity began to slip away. This is Erwin Mortier's moving, exquisitely observed memoir of his mother's descent into dementia, as a once-flamboyant woman who loved life and pleasure becomes a shuffling, ghostlike figure wandering through the house. Piecing together the fragments of her lost life, and his own childhood, Mortier asks: what do we become when we lose the repertoire of habits and words that make us who we are? How well do we really know our families? How do you say goodbye to someone who is still there and yet not, suspended between life and death? Stammered Songbook is a heartbreaking and poetic expression of a son's love; an extraordinary hymn to language; a meditation on time, mortality and how, eventually, we all unravel into memories. 'Superb, staggering and even more...At once a clinical observation, a cry of love, a farewell and a meditation. A work of considerable significance' Humanite 'Erwin Mortier has surpassed himself. This is more than just an immensely touching confessional memoir about Alzheimer's disease. It is an essential book. Overwhelming. Mortier unearths at least one diamond on every page' De Standaard 'A wonderful source of sustenance to survive the shipwreck' Liberation 'In this painfully beautiful book it is ultimately love that persists despite everything, the love of a son for his mother. Heart-rending' de Telegraaf 'It makes no difference what subject Erwin Mortier settles upon. Everything he describes gains that characteristic splendour, that unmistakable, unique sound. Golden tragedy' Opzij Erwin Mortier (1965) made his mark in 1999 with his debut novel Marcel, which was awarded several prizes in Belgium and the Netherlands, and received acclaim throughout Europe. In the following years he quickly built up a reputation as of one the leading authors of his generation. His novel While the Gods were Sleeping received the AKO Literature Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the Netherlands. His latest work, Stammered Song Book, a mother's book of hours,' a raw yet tender elegy about illness and loss, was met with unanimous praise. Mortier's evocative descriptions bring past worlds brilliantly to life.
    • £8.39
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  • Marcel

    Erwin Mortier

    Product Code: AKICG
    Paperback
    Once the family favourite, Marcel died before his time and now lies far away in an unmarked grave. But his photograph still stands in pride of place on the family cabinet, lovingly guarded by an old woman. Her young grandson, who so resembles his smiling relative, is haunted by the mystery of Marcel's life and death. But when the boy finds some of the dead man's letters, the truth turns out to be far less simple, and far less savoury, than he could ever have imagined. Family secrets, lies and half-truths fold in on one another in this subtle and beguiling novel. Marcel is a sharp, lyrical depiction of the murky attitude of the living towards the dead, and of how past betrayals will live on through the generations.
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  • My Fellow Skin

    Erwin Mortier

    Product Code: AKICF
    Paperback
    As a small child, unable still to speak, Anton spends his days in carefree curiosity. As a schoolboy, he tentatively begins to find the words, but not the answers. Then he meets Willem, his gentle, well-spoken classmate. The silent love story that unfolds brings direction and hope to both their lives. It is a relationship that will change Anton for ever and show him what it means to love and to lose. In lucid, stark prose, My Fellow Skin asks whether the cautious fumbling for love and companionship is ever worth the devastating loneliness of loss.
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