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Het lange afscheid - The Long Farewell - 1988

The Long Farewell was referred to by the weekly magazine Knack in 2008 as ‘one of the most underestimated Flemish novels of the post-war period’.  WWII: Fate catapults Hermann Becht, a man with an Oedipus complex working as a spy for the British in the extermination camp Treblinka, into an impossible position. He can only avenge himself against his father if he passes on information that will lead to the dramatic bombing of Dresden.


 “With enormous vigour ‘The Long Farewell’ carries the reader along in a circular course from Dresden, through Russia (in flashbacks), France, Turkey, England and Switzerland to Poland, only to return to Dresden. The harrowing description of the Polish extermination camp Treblinka is particularly moving.”

Hugo Bousset in ‘Ons Erfdeel’ 33, 1989

 “With this novel, Van Laerhoven has achieved something unique in Flanders in his genre. If it had been written in English the novel would have attracted a great deal of attention and discussion.”

 Jos Borré in De Morgen, 10-03-1989

 The Long Farewell is convincing evidence that someone who did not personally experience WWII has the capacity nevertheless to form an impressive image of its monstrous excrescences. Van Laerhoven combines profound insight and a remarkable knowledge of the facts. He is a complete master of the technique required to write an exciting novel. This gripping story sketches the annihilation of the Jews against a background of the historical facts. It is a handsomely written and tragic story, a story of guilt and atonement.”

 De Standaard -  1989




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