Hugo Claus

Het verdriet van België / The Sorrow of Belgium



This monumental autobiographical novel is set in the late 1930s and 1940s. It depicts the story of a young man’s emotional, sexual, and political coming of age during the Nazi occupation of Belgium. After returning from a Catholic boarding school, Louis Seynaeve discovers that his family is more than willing to cooperate with the Germans. He, therefore, decides to break away from the Flemish small-town environment, where morality has had to make way for other interests. In the book, the author explores, in a readable and humorous way, an ordinary man´s perspective from which he confronted and perceived the war horrors and examines the circumstances ultimately leading to collaboration with the Germans.

Published by Rubato, 2023


© Gerald Dauphin

Hugo Claus (1929-2008) was a Belgian writer of Flemish nationality and the author of many prose, poetry, and drama books. He is widely regarded as the most prominent figure in modern Flemish literature. Some of his extensive works have been translated into Czech: four plays and two novels – The Duck Hunt (De Metsiers)(1974) and The Rumours (De geruchten)(2005), for which he received the European Aristeion Prize. The Sorrow of Belgium, a novel from 1983, is the author´s masterpiece, now considered a modern classic.


Radka Smejkalová