Tom Lanoye is a well known author in Belgium and the Netherlands.
He's quite controversial when no one hadn't jumped on that train and I got to know his style when I read the 'Monster'-trilogy. I don't think it's known outside of Belgium and since it largely depicts the ruinous political landscape of the nineties I don't think it would pack the same punch.
Apart from those three novels I never got back to him.
I actually picked this novel just because he had turned 60 and my library dedicated an entire table to him. I couldn't resist. I'm a sucker for decorated tables and I've gone home with great books because of that habit.
This one can join the gallery of surprisingly good books I've just picked up randomly. It's fun sometimes to read sometimes without any prejudice.
Fortunate Slaves is the story of two men who share the same name and grew up in about the same environment. I can't tell so much without spoiling a bit of the story. Both men are on different continents, but are joined together by more than their name.
Their story is raw, idealistic, naive and sometimes a bit cynical, but overall it is permeated with a sense of luck. Not so much in having luck, but striving for it.
The depiction of Flanders is raw and beautiful. It's like looking at a ruined painting, there's still some beauty in it, but most is in tatters. It's a wrecked kind of magnificence that only the Flemish can truly love and understand. We hate and we love it, at the same time.