Jens Meijen / Jens Meijen – The Light Years

Jens Meijen – The Light Years

Jens Meijen – The Light Years

Read our sample translation of The Light Years

About the book

During a sweltering heatwave, a couple in their early thirties receives a hermit crab in a mysterious post package. Not long before, a friend announced that she is expecting, which reawakens old grief in both of them.

They live in a claustrophobic world where the rich have left for the cooler north and drones maintain public order. Despite the stifling heat, they go on bike rides with their friends, host lavish, alcohol-fuelled parties and philosophize about how different everything could have been, about time travel, investments in outer space, and the colonization of other planets.

Meanwhile, the couple’s almost obsessive search for the crab’s origins takes them to mouldy cellars, online self-help forums, virtual realities and parched forests. They also return to their old neighbourhood, where, just a stone’s throw from an old coal mine, they dream about what the future could look like.

‘The Light Years takes place in the near future. The temperatures have surged. Those who can have moved north, while the rest languish in cities that are only decaying. Meijen’s world is the current one on speed, in which today’s quirks have taken on a neurotic character.’ – Knack

‘The Light Years fits seamlessly in the line of compelling dystopias by George Orwell (1984), Aldous Huxley (A Brave New World) and Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale). In his outstanding debut novel, Meijen shows us “a black hole that has erased reality.”’ – Tzum

JENS MEIJEN (b. 1996) is a writer and PhD researcher in political science. He is also a journalist and literary critic for Humo and editor of the literary magazine DW B. He was Belgium’s first Young Poet Laureate. With his debut poetry collection Xenomorf (2019), he won the C. Buddingh’ Prize and was nominated for the Poetry Debut Prize Aan Zee.

© Simon Debbaut L'Ecluse

Additional book information

  • Novel
  • ISBN 9789403122816
  • Number of pages: 240
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: €21,99
  • English and Catalan sample available