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Short Story Collection "'Heart Fever" - 2018


After his much-acclaimed short story collection Dangerous Obsessions, which had war as a common background, Belgian/Flemish author Van Laerhoven surprises again with five stories that shed a piercing light on our most self-destructive impulses. A steroid-spiked Syrian mercenary of Bashar-al-Assad is determined to become a "martyr," after the loss of his right arm by "friendly fire." A retired London tube-driver becomes obsessed by his desire to revenge the vicious killing of his parents in Croatia on his half-nephew. A Belgian travel-writer gets entangled in the madness of the Kosovo-war during the nineties and witnesses its dramatic consequences many years later in New York. A jaded art brut painter in Brussels betrays his best friend, a Rwandan art forger, to the Mafia, opening the door to guilt, lust, and murder. A born liar with the nickname Johnny di Machio seeks in the seventies, in Poona, India, salvation in Bhagwan's ashram for his sexual problems, but gets trapped in a maze of long hidden violence.

Aldous Huxley wrote in Brave New World (1932): ""Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly ---- they''ll go through anything." This is precisely what Van Laerhoven does, relentlessly exposing our inner solitude and voracious egos. Heart Fever goes way beyond heartache.


"Heart Fever" is one of the finalists of the Silver Falchion Award 2018 (USA) in the category "short story collections". Laerhoven is the only non-American author, writing in English, of the finalists.


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