In this peculiar WWII novel, first published in 1947, the Flemish author gives his own first name, Louis, to the narrator, but also insists that the I of his first-person narration is also you, the reader. As someone whose generation blossomed between the two wars, Louis offers a heavy dose of overtly symbolic disillusionment and self-conscious sentimentality while writing very little about the war itself. Mostly, he's at home contemplating the people in his neighborhood. An anarchist, nihilist, and a dirty old man, Louis can't quite identify anything connected with the war, and this ambiguity is of course meant to question the nature of war itself. Instead, the reader gets lost in a strange, vague world where multiple characters are referred to as What's-his-name and musings on misery are italicized or printed in capital letters. This cursory treatment of reality allows Boon more time to talk about himself, the decline of humanity (best illustrated by loose women), and the feigned hypersensitivity that accompanies all great nihilist authors, but that Boon can't quite get right.
This is a used copy in very good condition with some light cover wear.
By Louis Paul Boon. 125 pages. Published by Dalkey Archive Press, 2009.