Misfortunates by Dimitri Verhulst

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It takes an exceptional writer to wring beauty from such material, but Verhulst manages it, and in the closing scenes he produces something of exquisite tenderness...
-Guardian

Synopsis

Frank, tender, and brutally funny, Dimitri Verhulst's semi-autobiographical story details the vibrantly entertaining journey of a boy growing up in a family of alcoholics in Belgium

Sobriety and moderation are alien concepts to the men in Dimmy's family. Useless in all other respects, his three uncles have a rare talent for drinking, a flair for violence, and an unwavering commitment to the pub. And his father Pierre is no slouch either. Within hours of his son's birth, Pierre plucks him from the maternity ward, props him on his bike, and takes him on an introductory tour of the village bars. His mother soon leaves them to it and as Dimmy grows up amid the stench of stale beer, he seems destined to follow the path of his forebears and make a low-life career in inebriation, until he begins to piece together his own plan for the future.

Bringing to life the shambolic upbringing that The Guardian describes as, "the odd, ugly, excremental poetry of their grubby lives," The Misfortunates "can be unexpectedly tender as well as uncomfortably funny… this novel continually surprises and intrigues."

 

About Dimitri Verhulst

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DIMITRI VERHULST is the award winning author of poetry, plays, and fifteen novels. He has won the Libris Prize, one of the most prestigious literature prizes in the Dutch language, and his work has appeared in 25 languages. His novel Problemski Hotel has been inscribed in the List of the Unesco Collection of Representative Works and the movie based on The Misfortunates won the Prix Art et Essai at The Cannes Film Festival. He lives in Sweden.
 
Published October 15, 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books. 207 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Misfortunates
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Aug 29 2013

A family of deeply entrenched alcoholics stumbles its way toward grace...A poetic, no-holds-barred slice of the European lowlife, with lots of drinking.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Gerard Woodward on Mar 22 2012

It takes an exceptional writer to wring beauty from such material, but Verhulst manages it, and in the closing scenes he produces something of exquisite tenderness...

Read Full Review of Misfortunates | See more reviews from Guardian

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