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De stenen wachter - The Stone Sentinel - 1990


A mixture of political-literary fiction, love story, hard-boiled thriller, and exploration of the roots of loyalty. Alejandro Juron, a renowned guitar player in his native Parián in South America, is arrested by the junta of general Pelarón. Ten years later, when the junta appears to be on the brink of collapse, Juron is set free. The opposition is overconfident and reckless; social disaster seems unavoidable. Parián, which alludes to Chile, symbolises the entire Latin American continent.  


The Stone Sentinel: exhilarating political thriller – inspired by the political situation in Chile under Pinochet, 1973 – in which the diffident liberalisation of an imaginary Latin American country is undone by organised right wing provocation. An original, well-structured plot symbolising the political situation in Latin America as a whole. The unequivocal position adopted by the book makes it more than a thriller. Its various complex characters are well-developed and well-rounded.”

Biblion, March 1990

The Stone Sentinel is once again an extremely impressive and daring novel. Its scale, use of characters and events, resonant use of motifs and symbols such as the condor, documentary embellishment, and exceptionally patient unfolding testify to an enviably advanced professionalism.  In addition to being a political thriller, The Stone Sentinel is thus a relatively classical psychological novel... often reminiscent of Graham Greene.”

Jos Borré in De Morgen, 30 March ’90

“Van Laerhoven offers us The Stone Sentinel as an accomplished literary craftsman, able to steer his characters through a stimulating plot with a steady hand. His story is a maelstrom of unavoidable events that acquire mythical proportions in the final chapters.  The exhilarating plot transports the reader at an incredible tempo towards the inescapable denouement.”

 MDH in Het Nieuwsblad, 1990

“In The Stone Sentinel, Van Laerhoven offers a penetrating exposure of the backgrounds that forced more than one Latin American Country into a change of political course at the beginning of the 1980s… Scheming for power, intrigue, score settling at the highest level, drug smuggling, private militias: The Stone Sentinel isn’t only a political novel intent on exploring dictatorship, nor is it just a thriller, the outcome of which remains in part incomplete at the book’s conclusion.  There’s more to The Stone Sentinel: the novel’s most captivating feature is its psychological portrayal of a number of people involved in resistance against the junta. Van Laerhoven has linked the fortunes of these people together in a masterful fashion. For me, Van Laerhoven is clearly the front runner of a generation that is still interested in accomplishing something with writing.”

Jooris Van Hulle in De Standaard, 14-4-90

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