Previously published in
- Spain (Catalan translation)
About the book
The start of the 1950s. André, the narrator of A Gentle Destruction, meets Sabine de Comptine d’Aarselaer, a woman who unites beauty with passion. He follows her from Ghent to Paris, where he eventually lands in the Flemish-Dutch artists’ colony, an environment Hugo Claus describes sometimes satirically, sometimes movingly, though always flawlessly.
‘Iris, who is divorced from her engineer, lived for four weeks in my farmer’s hut. She bought the bedroom curtains and hung them up. A few times she danced in her underwear in the orchard. She thought I looked like her ex-husband. But young. She cut my toenails. And one morning she was nowhere to be found. Five hundred francs lay on the table underneath an ashtray overflowing with her English cigarettes, along with a letter: ‘You don’t love me. You don’t love anyone. I can’t take it.’