Discomfort is putting it mildly. In 2018, Atlas Contact published their first novel, The Discomfort of Evening, which won the prestigious ANV Debut Prize and was a national bestseller. Suffering in silence is the fictionalised family’s response too. Michael Haneke’s film “The White Ribbon,”. What follows is an unflinching study of a family falling apart in the madness of grief, rendered all the more unnerving for the childishly plain, undramatic way their compulsive behaviours are reported. The novel teems — I say this admiringly — with all the filth of life. One Goodreads review said something to the effect of "Trigger Warning: All of them," but I ignored it. When I learned it lost the 2020 International Booker Prize to The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, I immediately read Discomfort. We return to her story that feels like a dare — can we face it when even her parents have turned away? The spaciousness of Rijneveld’s imagination comes as terror and solace. To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com. Throughout The Discomfort of Evening characters test the limits of bodily boundaries – their own, and others. Jas believes that her resentment of her brother caused his death. Two weeks ago, the International Booker Prize was awarded to a best-selling, already notorious portrait of childhood, “The Discomfort of Evening,” written by the Dutch novelist Marieke Lucas Rijneveld and translated by Michele Hutchison. Rijneveld will play to all your phobias and nurture new ones. 'The Discomfort of Evening' is about a girl Jas who grew up in a strict Christian community in rural Netherlands. "The Discomfort of Evening," written by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld and translated from Dutch by Michele Hutchison, is the winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize, … We return always to Jas, in her smelly, decidedly non-allegorical coat, filled with toads. “It’s when we’re being ourselves instead of pretending to be who we want to be.”, An Award-Winning Debut Novel About Innocence Shattered Offers Terror and Solace. They are further tested by the arrival of foot-and-mouth disease on the farm (the book is set around the 2001 outbreak), necessitating the slaughter of their beloved cows. Jas is studying the Holocaust at school. Confident in its brutality, yet contained rather than gratuitous, it introduces readers to both a memorably off-key narrator and a notable new talent. Discomfort of Evening (Faber, March), translated by Michelle Hutchison, is a rich and luminous novel about fate and grief. They will grow up, we understand, to become Nazis. Her brother, Obbe, obsessively bashes his head on his bedframe and starts killing animals, while her mother refuses to eat an ever-growing list of certain foods. A stomach ulcer, which is sometimes called peptic ulcer, often causes burning stomach pain. She comes from a devout farming family. The story draws partly from life. Afterwards, it’s as if teachings about sin, penance and the corporeal become painfully snarled up with the family’s loss, and their desperate attempts to control or master it. Winners of literary awards are often very "literary." The pain may grow worse when your stomach is full or … Rijneveld also grew up with the notion of a “threatening, cruel God” in a family annihilated by the death of a son in childhood. And yet, I went to it every day without dread, with, in fact, a gratitude that surprised me. Her brother torments animals as sacrifices. Skinned knuckles look like “ruptured prawns’ heads”; bits of wet crisp at the swimming pool “stick to your feet like blisters”. Combining a disarming new sensibility with a translation of singular sensitivity, The Discomfort of Evening is a tender and visceral evocation of a childhood caught between shame and salvation, and a deeply deserving winner of The 2020 International Booker Prize.’ Jas’s conviction that her mum is hiding Jews in the basement seems less plausible than most of her delusions and rather underdeveloped. In an interview, Hutchison spoke of the difficulty of translating some parts, particularly those involving incest: “I’d tend not to do those passages at the end of the day, in case I would get nightmares.”. Published by Faber & Faber. And what happens when that is … There’s a particularly unpleasant scene featuring a metal artificial insemination gun going into a hole it was never intended for. Translated by Michele Hutchison from Dutch. “The Discomfort of Evening” is set among dairy farmers who are members of a strict Protestant sect, much like the writer’s own family. The Discomfort of Evening is a moving, if harsh, signal of the powerful, impressive writing of a young author on the interior (Photo: Marieke Lucas Rijneveld) And thus ensues the collapse of the family. Jas — who has grown up in a home with a lavish vocabulary for animals, but obsessional silence where human life is concerned — assesses her parents pragmatically: “This must mean they don’t mate either.”. It is already a bestseller in … The non-binary author has talked about growing up with a sense of a “threatening, cruel God” – and also losing a brother at a young age, which the family barely discussed. She writes a fortnightly column for the New Statesman. THE DISCOMFORT OF EVENING by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld ; translated by Michele Hutchison ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 18, 2020 The effects of the unspeakable grief felt by 10-year-old Jas’ family after the death of her beloved older brother are explored in painful and painstaking detail in this startling debut novel by a Dutch poet. In it, they ask: In the absence of comfort and care, what can the mind of a child invent to protect itself? A remarkable debut novel about a Dutch farm girl and her strict Christian family is unflinching and disturbing. It’s not the violence that feels so shocking — it’s the innocence. That lack of squeamishness, that frightening extremity, which, in Hutchison’s clean, calm translation, never feels showy or manipulative, gives full voice to the enormity of the children’s grief, their obscene deprivation. The violence in the book is visited on small bodies, mute bodies, by those who are themselves small, young, lacking in language. I’d heard about scenes of animal torture, and of sadistic sexual exploration between the siblings. Now she is convinced that if she can force her bucket of toads to mate, her parents might follow suit. The pull-tab from a can of Coke. In addition to writing, Rijneveld works on a dairy farm. literary awards ‘The Discomfort of Evening’: What readers need to know about the Booker International Prize winner The 29-year-old Marieke Lucas … In 2018, Atlas Contact published their first novel, The Discomfort of Evening, which won the prestigious ANV Debut Prize and was a national bestseller. Rijneveld’s 'The Discomfort of Evening' is hailed as a “visceral and virtuosic” debut novel by the Booker Prize judges. One of the daughters, Jas, blames herself for his death after a perverse bargain she made with God the morning of his death. The novel evokes a general curiosity and bewilderment with the adult world, here given two supercharged shots in the backside by the unspeakable (in all senses) tragedy of the brother’s death and the pressure of extreme religious beliefs. She finds corollaries only in the world of the cows; she cannot tether herself to anything human. Jas lives with her devout farming family in the rural Netherlands. Her sister dreams of fleeing the farm. When you purchase an independently reviewed book through our site, we earn an affiliate commission. The Discomfort of Evening Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchison Faber & Faber, 288pp, £12.99 › When the lockdown came to Ambridge; Megan Nolan is a writer of essays, criticism and fiction born in Ireland and based in London. Their parents scarcely look at each other, scarcely touch. Health and happiness would be restored. The £50,000 prize, which will be split between the book's author and its English translator Michele Hutchison, wasawarded during a digital event live-streamed across Facebook and YouTube. Will we succumb to discomfort or will we find in that discomfort a harsh and surprising lesson — the writer’s credo? However strong your readerly constitution, it might feel like a peculiar time to pick up a book so mournful and gory. “I am proud as a cow with seven udders,” they responded to the official announcement. Jas’s family are strict Christians – a background shared with Rijneveld, who still works on a dairy farm. The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld – review. Free UK p&p over £15, 'My family are too frightened to read my book': meet Europe's most exciting authors. But this is a pretty remarkable debut. Jas’s narration might be rich with metaphors — but almost all of them are bovine. Even before Matthies’s death, the parents are pious to the point of punitive; bodily functions are a source of shame. It is one of her milder schemes. And then her brother does die, falling through the ice. The UK edition won the 2020 Booker International Prize. The Discomfort of Evening is indeed uncomfortable, but that is a good thing, because ‘in discomfort we are real’. A remarkable debut novel about a Dutch farm girl and her strict Christian family is unflinching and disturbing. Enter those toads. The UK edition won the Booker International Prize 2020. The Discomfort of Evening By: Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated from the Dutch by Michele Hutchison. Early on Jas discovers that in order to prevent post-mortem evacuations, cotton wool has … Congrats to Marieke Lucas Rijneveld and Michele Hutchison, and to Graywolf and Faber and Faber. Alongside their writing career, Rijneveld works on a dairy farm. About the Author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld grew up in a Reformed farming family in North Brabant before moving to Utrecht. I thought Tyll was extraordinary. Resentful at being left alone, she makes a perverse plea to God; he never returns. I was wary myself. There’s also the involved subplot that deals with Jas’s persistent constipation; she makes herself ill to give her parents a topic of conversation. The cowed children of the film enact their humiliations on one another. But these are intimations only, embers. They cross ordinary borders of decency in wild confusion. Jas refuses to take off her increasingly disgusting red coat, keeps a drawing pin stuck in her belly button and develops chronic constipation (this matter-of-fact scatological novel is not for the squeamish). (Apparently, the Dutch version also contained a joke deemed too offensive for British publication – removing it seems a strange choice, serving only to inflame an imagination already given a good stoking by Rijneveld.). A bestseller in the Netherlands, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s radical debut novel The Discomfort of Evening offers listeners a rare vision of rural and religious life in the Netherlands. The Mulder family has come apart after the death of the oldest child, a son, in an ice-skating accident. One winter’s day, her older brother joins an ice skating trip. I was frequently reminded of Michael Haneke’s film “The White Ribbon,” about the savage, secretive rituals of a group of children in a German village before World War I. It’s another excoriation of a punitive Protestantism and familial cycles of violence, which Haneke holds responsible for creating a society vulnerable to fascist ideology. Digestive problems are considered the most common cause of … The blurring of victim and perpetrator is complex, complete, difficult to bear. Not everything works: Rijneveld seems to strain in search of an ending. A family of six becomes five after a tragic skating accident claims the oldest son. The Discomfort of Evening — winner of the International Booker Prize for 2020 — is a tough book to read: told from the perspective of a young girl whose family is mired in grief and ongoing tragedy, the details are focussed on the visceral, the scatalogical; there is prepubescent sexual exploration that borders on abuse; parental control and neglect and threats of suicide; animal torture … The first Dutch literary work … The Discomfort of the Evening is relatively simple in terms of plot. As the Mulder parents retreat into grief, their children are left alone to invent their own rules, their own cosmology. 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