Sunday, December 17, 2017

De laatste liefde van mijn moeder


Or translated: The Last Love of My Mother.

It's a story about a young boy whose mother has left an abusive husband and is starting a new life with another man, Wannes.

As you can tell, it's in dutch, Dimitri Verhulst being one of our more rebellious writers. One who uncanningly captures the atmosphere of growing up in the 80's.

The novel is told mainly from the perspective of Jimmy, a young boy, eleven years old, who is not happy with the new guy of his mother. The novel centers around a trip to The Black Forest in Germany and is seasoned with so much nostalgia that I didn't want to stop reading this little gem.

Jimmy is a typical 11y old in the early 80's, telling the story of his very first trip abroad with his mother and her boyfriend. The dislike between the two males is poignant throughout the novel, while Jimmy resents the attention his mother gives to Wannes, and Wannes hates this reminder of his wife's earlier marriage. The tone is set when Wannes asks Jimmy to call him dad on this trip, and Jimmy flatly refuses to speak to him altogether after a few quick-witted remarks.

If it's hard for two people who love each other to be with each other 24-7, think about what catalyst this trip would be on two people who don't like each other.

I loved reading this little novel, which was too short. It left me hanging for more and I will seek out other novels Dimitri Verhulst has written.
His kind of nostalgia, of the lower class youngsters in Belgium, of which I myself was once part of, is contagious to read. It's as if I get a glimpse into a past almost forgotten and I can't wait to get back.