Here at Booked Club, we believe that one of the best ways to expand your understanding of other cultures is to “read the world” and expose yourself to literature from other countries. This week we have a list of novels that take place or were written in Belgium.
- On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe (2007)
This debut novel by Nigerian author Chika Unigwe follows four women who “left their African homeland for the riches of Europe,” only to find work in Antwerp’s red-light district. When tragedy strikes, the women grow closer and share their experiences.
- The Adventures of Tintin by Herge (1930)
Titin is an adventurous young reporter. Since Tintin’s debut in 1929, this genre-bending comic grew into one of the most popular 20th-century cartoons.
Dirty Snow by Georges Simenon, Marc Romano (1948)
Over his lifetime, Simenon published almost five hundred novels. Dirty Snow is a dark, disturbing novel about a young antihero who takes murderous advantage of the military occupation in WWII.
- The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier (2003)
In this novel, Chevalier mixes fact and fiction to describe the story behind the creation of medieval tapestries in the late 1400’s. The tapestries today hang in the Parisian Cluny Museum.
- Resistance by Anita Shreve (1943)
When an American place crashes near a Belgian village in World War II, members of the resistance movement shelter the survivors.
- The Sorrow of Belgium by Hugo Claus (1983)
This coming-of-age novel (at a whopping 600 pages) follows a boy in World War II. It gives a wide span of detail about the effect of the war on Belgium and Belgian culture.
- Monte Carlo by Peter Terrin (2014)
Taking place in 1968, a mechanic unthinkingly throws himself in harms way to save someones life, but in the aftermath, he never receives acknowledgement or reward for his good deed. In the blurb, the publisher writes, “This is an unsettlingly beautiful story of obsession by an acknowledged master of classical restraint.”
- A Fish Trapped Inside the Wind by Christien Gholson (2011)
This story follows six Belgian villagers after the wind (or a dance crew? or magic?) scatters dead fish throughout the town.