With ruthless directness, this spellbinding novel deals with the consequences of trauma about which nobody in the family talks. It gets under the skin thanks to the fresh imagery with which a ten-year-old girl nicknamed Jas describes her private life and the daily happenings on a dairy farm. After her older brother’s tragic death, grief overwhelms the family’s life, and Jas, on the verge of puberty, succumbs to her insecurities and insistent feelings of guilt. Without the help of her parents, who have become impenetrably locked in their grief, she tries in vain to come to terms with herself and indulges in increasingly disturbing fantasies that gradually take on an almost Old Testament dimension.
Published by Argo, 2021
Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (* 1991) comes from an orthodox Protestant farming family settled in North Brabant. While his poetry collections were already highly regarded by critics, his debut novel, The Discomfort of Evening, partly inspired by her brother’s death, made a splash on the literary scene and provoked a considerable readership. Translated into English, it earned Rijneveld the International Booker Prize in 2020 at just under 30 as the first Dutch author to win it.