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De engelenmaker by Stefan Brijs
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De engelenmaker (original 2005; edition 2019)

by Stefan Brijs

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8384618,782 (3.91)45
After many years Doctor Victor Hoppe returns to the small village he grew up in. His return after an absence of many years generates a lot of interest - and suspicion - as he is accompanied by three triplets, all of whom share the same physical deformity as the doctor - a hare lip. These children are very quiet and are rarely seen in the village. But with time, and a series of apparently miraculous cures and tales of the wife he lost, the doctor begins to win the villagers over. He hires an ex schoolmistress, Charlotte, to look after the children and has strict instructions about the way they are to be brought up. But the longer Charlotte works with the doctor, the more she begins to suspect that the children - and the doctor - aren't what they seem. As a child, the doctor was locked away in a harsh children's home run by nuns - because of his autism and his hare lip, he was assumed to be an idiot. He was eventually rescued but was determined never to succumb to the religious zealotry he witnessed in the convent and to dedicate his life instead to the pursuit of science. He began a career as a geneticist but his desire to correct the mistakes of nature lead him to eventual ruin and disgrace.… (more)
Member:jankaldenbach
Title:De engelenmaker
Authors:Stefan Brijs
Info:Amsterdam Uitgeverij Atlas Contact 2019
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

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The Angel Maker by Stefan Brijs (2005)

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» See also 45 mentions

Dutch (27)  English (18)  Danish (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
This was a weiiiird book. I'm just so weirded out by the disturbing actions of the main character that I can't quite figure out what I thought of the book =| ( )
  stormnyk | Aug 6, 2020 |
https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2891269.html

A peculiarly awful book set in Belgium a few years ago, in a town near the Drielandenpunt where a new local doctor moves in with his triplet sons and a sinister unspoken history of discredited scientific experimentation. I thought that the book was trying to navigate the fuzzy boundary between mainstream Belgian literature and horror, and frankly got lost en route, going for shock rather than substance. I got it because I'm always on the lookout for books about Belgium that have made a minor hit in English, but this wasn't worth it. ( )
  nwhyte | Nov 4, 2017 |
When Victor Hoppe is born with a cleft lip and is developmentally delayed, his parents believe it best that he be institutionalized. He is placed in a Catholic institution for children who it is believed will never be able to live on their own. In actual fact, Victor is a genius who has merely chosen not to speak or otherwise communicate or interact with others.

His upbringing in the institution results in Victor's concluding that God is the embodiment of evil. After he leaves the institution, he studies and becomes a brilliant and respected scientific researcher. However, he believes himself to be in competition with God, and he believes he will win. We know that such hubris can only lead to tragedy.

The book begins when Victor returns to the mountain village of his birth shortly after the death of his parents. He brings with him his infant identical triplet sons, and mysteriously refuses to speak of their mother. As the babies grow, they are isolated and are not allowed to interact with other children in the village. There is constant speculation as to what is really going on behind Victor's closed doors.

This book explores issues of religion, of medical ethics, and of what it means to be different, among other things. It is very readable--not quite a thriller, but definitely a page-turner. ( )
  arubabookwoman | Apr 22, 2017 |
Wat een boek! Het begint als een luchtige dorpsroman, met kluchtige gebeurtenissen en karikaturale personages. Maar halverwege krijgt een maatschappij- of wetenschapskritische lading en krijgt de psychologie van de hoofdpersoon opeens alle aandacht, om ten slotte te eindigen als een soort lugubere, bloedstollende gothic novel. Geweldig geschreven, heel origineel, maar heeft de auteur ons een boodschap willen geven of neemt hij alles en iedereen in de maling? Heel goed gecomponeerd. ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
Horrifically bleak Gothic chiller is a page turner that keeps you hooked until the very end. The story unfolds via a structure that goes backwards and forwards in time, peeling away the macabre layers of this gruesome little story. The town of Wolfheim is something out of the 1931 Universal Frankenstein movie, a sleepy hamlet that is steeped in old superstitions despite it being the modern day, the 1980s to be exact. Victor Hoppe is one of the most twisted characters I've read in a long time. Suffering a horrible childhood in an asylum, Victor adopts a perverted view of God and ethics that leads to some gruesome fates for a number of characters in the book. The insight into Victor's mad mindset is really terrifying in its logic and is one of the prime sources of horror in this book throughout. Nonetheless, author Brijs manages to give us moments of fleeting hope (although dashed, they are there none the less for a moment) with characters like Sister Marthe and Frau Maenhout, but this is a tragically bleak story through and through and certainly not one for the squeamish ( )
  Humberto.Ferre | Sep 28, 2016 |
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some of Wolfheim's inhabitants maintain to this day that they heard the crying of the three babies in the back seat first, even before they heard the taxi's engine as it drove into the village.
Sommige inwoners van Wolfheim beweren nog altijd dat ze eerst het driestemmige gehuil van de baby's op de achterbank hadden gehoord en pas later het motorgeluid van de taxi zelf die het dorp binnenreed.
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After many years Doctor Victor Hoppe returns to the small village he grew up in. His return after an absence of many years generates a lot of interest - and suspicion - as he is accompanied by three triplets, all of whom share the same physical deformity as the doctor - a hare lip. These children are very quiet and are rarely seen in the village. But with time, and a series of apparently miraculous cures and tales of the wife he lost, the doctor begins to win the villagers over. He hires an ex schoolmistress, Charlotte, to look after the children and has strict instructions about the way they are to be brought up. But the longer Charlotte works with the doctor, the more she begins to suspect that the children - and the doctor - aren't what they seem. As a child, the doctor was locked away in a harsh children's home run by nuns - because of his autism and his hare lip, he was assumed to be an idiot. He was eventually rescued but was determined never to succumb to the religious zealotry he witnessed in the convent and to dedicate his life instead to the pursuit of science. He began a career as a geneticist but his desire to correct the mistakes of nature lead him to eventual ruin and disgrace.

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At 3 o'clock one afternoon deep in autumn, the small village of Wolfheim stops still to witness the return of Doctor Victor Hoppe. But as he steps out of the taxi, the villagers see that he is not alone. In the back seat are three young babies, all with fiery red hair and all with the same physical deformity - a hare lip.
As a child, the doctor was locked away in a children's home run by nuns. He never spoke a word, never showed emotion, and only reacted to the animal-like noises from the boy in the bed next to him. Thought to be feeble-minded, he was subjected to a brutal regime and inwardly vowed to escape this world and never succumb to the religious zealotry that plagued his early years.
However when he hires an ex-schoolmistress, Charlotte, to look after the children she begins to suspect that the doctor is not what he seems. As the villagers become troubled by his strange behaviour once more, figures from his past emerge and he is driven  to acts that are ever more extreme...
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