Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Het verdriet van België : roman by Hugo…

Het verdriet van België : roman (original 1983; edition 1983)

by Hugo Claus

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
970168,895 (3.7)39
Title:Het verdriet van België : roman
Authors:Hugo Claus
Info:Bezige Bij (1983), Editie: 1e druk, Hardcover, 774 pagina's
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Sorrow of Belgium by Hugo Claus (1983)




Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 39 mentions

English (11)  Dutch (4)  French (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)

Bij Nederlands is Het verdriet van België van Hugo Claus een van die boeken van het hoogste niveau. Verschillende mensen zijn al op de hoogte van mijn wil een goede lijst voort te brengen en dat ik daarom dus dit boek gekozen heb. Maar er is meer, ik wilde ook graag een Vlaams boek op mijn lijst zetten, omdat anders het evenwicht Nederland/België wel heel erg verstoord was.

Wij zien in Het verdriet van België de ontwikkeling van Louis Seynaeve in Walle, België (of beter: Vlaanderen) gedurende de jaren vlak voor tot vlak na de tweede wereldoorlog. Het verhaal begint wanneer Louis op elfjarige leeftijd in het 'Gesticht'. Na het uitbreken van de tweede wereldoorlog speelt dit een belangrijke rol in het verhaal. Geen heldendaden, maar een gewoon leven.

Een behoorlijk dikke pil, dit boek van 750 pagina's. Het eerste dat opvalt, behalve de omvang, is het Vlaams. Ik lees niet zovaak Vlaamse boeken, en ik vind dat altijd wel grappig om zo de verschillen tussen het Nederlands en het Vlaams te zien. Moeite het te volgen heb ik eigenlijk niet, want ook ik ben opgegroeid met KetNet en Belgische zwemles. Sommigen mensen schrijven dat het taalgebruik en de zinsopbouw soms lastig is, maar dit heb ik niet zo ervaren. Ik vond het best lekker lezen. In het begin duurde het even voor ik in het verhaal zat, maar later ging het toch op een redelijk tempo. Het eerste deel van het verhaal, is een verhaal in een verhaal, en je merkt het ook een beetje aan de stijl van dit eerste deel. Het tweede deel gaat over de tweede wereld oorlog en hierna. Hier lopen meer verhaallijnen door elkaar. Ik vond het verhaal redelijk, niet fantastisch zoals sommigen, niet dramatisch slecht zoals sommige anderen. Soms was het een beetje langdradig, een paar dingen vond ik erg vreemd, maar over het algemeen was het een redelijk boek. Ik zal dan ook gaan voor 3 sterren. Dat vind ik wel verdiend... ( )
  Floratina | Jan 23, 2014 |
Well huh. I really don't know what to say about this. I'm glad it's finished? It wasn't bad, but it was ... odd? Let's go with odd. Very very odd. Weird characters. Doing strange things. It's about an extended family, from the perspective of a young boy, during WWII. It details his family life, which is already a bit strained, and then there's the impact of the war on everyone; jobs, food, relationships, everything gets put under various strain, while Louis writes. I'm sure there's stuff that went totally over my head, cultural references and the like, and maybe if someone native were to discuss it, it would help me see the book a little differently? I don't know. I just don't know what to think of it.

That said, the writing was good, and various aspects of the story were interesting. And several parts made me laugh out loud. ( )
  PolymathicMonkey | Nov 7, 2013 |
The Sorrow of Belgium is a coming of age story of a young Belgian boy during World War II. Like many stories with adolescent boys, much of the book focuses on Louis' experiences in school, his relationships with his parents and friends and the typical teenage boy's fascination with sex. However the time and place add in the complexity of growing up in a country at war and a country with divided loyalties. I picked up this book because we are traveling to Belgium later this summer and wanted a book that gave some insight to the culture of the area. I was definitely surprised and learned quite a bit about the division of Belgium due to language. Before WWII, French was spoken in the southern part of Belgium and was the language of the nobility and the official language used by much of the government. The Flemish movement arose to rid the country of French. During WWII, some people saw collaboration with the Germans as a method of supporting the Flemish movement. As the main character Louis grows up and lives through the war, he experiences animosity from other Belgians because his family collaborates with the Germans. Although the story is told with much humor, the brutality and devastation of war is still present in the story.

I personally found this story interesting, but not that compelling. What could have been an incredibly strong and moving story was told with too much nonchalance and emphasis on an adolescent boy's obsession with sex. I really wanted to love this story, but felt that there was no strong message when it could have been a very powerful story. Still, good background information about Belgium and the struggles it experienced during the war. ( )
  jmoncton | Jun 3, 2013 |
A very sad, but true, tale by the author. At first an enthusiastic Nazi supporter, his further adventures led him to a different conclusion about life. ( )
  Persisto | May 1, 2010 |
Regarded as a masterpiece of 20th century Dutch literature, this is a panoramic novel of life in wartime Flanders. It is a scathing, moving, at the same time humorous portrayal of a Flemish community, primarily of the family of a young boy, Louis Seynaeve, as war approaches, as the Germans invaded and occupied Belgium, as the Allies arrived, and as they try to put back together again pieces of their broken lives.

It is also a coming-of-age story where we see Louis in the first part of the story, spending his last days in the sheltered world of a convent school and being transported into the chaos of the rapidly disintegrating world outside as the enemies arrived. Beliefs, political and religious, loyalties, friendships, family bonds are severely tested as war raged where each defended his own or claimed something else, whichever gave a better chance to survive. Danger and much confusion abounded as accusing fingers pointed to collaborators, to nationalists, depending which side people thought were winning. Interestingly, we see the tension between the Flemish and the French cultural and linguistic traditions surfacing in every aspect of the people's lives the entire time that we start to somehow understand the ambiguity that still characterizes and divides Belgium today.

The narrative is told mainly through dialogues and conversations, and through Louis's imagination and musings. It is very witty and poetic, full of unforgettable characters trying to cope with the destruction in their little, miserable, sometimes pathetic or even poignant ways. There is pain, betrayal, horror and death, but the story never becomes sentimental or dark. Remarkably, there is plenty of comic relief even in the bleakest of situations. It seems sorrow masquerades as humor. ( )
  deebee1 | Oct 31, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hugo Clausprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pomerans, Arnold J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Awards and honors
First words
Dondeyne had hidden one of the seven Forbidden Books under his tunic and then coaxed Louis into coming along.
Last words
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394562631, Hardcover)

A classic novel in the tradition of The Tin Drum, The Sorrow of Belgium is a searing, scathingly funny portrait of a wartime Belgium and one boy's coming of age-emotionally, sexually, and politically. Epic in scope, by turns hilarious and elegiac, The Sorrow of Belgium is the masterwork of one of the world's greatest contemporary authors.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:49 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
55 wanted4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.7)
0.5 2
1 5
1.5 1
2 13
2.5 4
3 49
3.5 15
4 60
4.5 11
5 46

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 91,256,834 books! | Top bar: Always visible