Shortly before his death, his grandfather handed the author several old notebooks with dense pages containing unsuspected secrets. His grandfather’s life was marked by a childhood spent in poverty at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, by terrible experiences of a soldier on the fronts of the First World War, and by the untimely death of his love of life. For the rest of his life, the grandfather hid his grief by painting quiet landscapes and by copying revered painters´ pictures. Hertmans reworked his grandfather’s fascinating life story into an impressive novel based on the authentic diary entries of a front-line soldier.
Published by Argo, 2020
Stefan Hertmans (* 1951) is a Flemish novelist, essayist and, above all, poet. His work has won a number of literary awards and is widely translated. In addition to active literary work, he lectures at domestic and foreign universities in Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and London. The novel War and Turpentine from 2013 represents the culmination of the author’s literary work to date.
by Františka Bakošová.