Peter Verhelst / Peter Verhelst – Before Forgetting

Peter Verhelst – Before Forgetting

Peter Verhelst – Before Forgetting

Read a sample translation of Before Forgetting


About the book

Peter Verhelst’s mother dies unexpectedly. He witnesses his father’s grief and must also find his own way of coping. It is a process full of harshly realistic, mythical, sensual, essayistic and poetic journeys. He grimly excavates his memories, at the same time opening up new worlds.

Before Forgetting is neither a book about mothers, nor a book about death, but rather a fervent ode to our floundering, tentative resistance to meaninglessness and sorrow. Verhelst struggles tooth and nail to create something vital—something that could continue to remind us, so that ultimately we can forget.


‘Before Forgetting is a dance. A sculpture of words. A hand that touches our grief.’ ***** De Standaard

‘Unadulterated grief—how do you pour that into a novel that’s at once an ode to love and resilience? Peter Verhelst does it in Before Forgetting.’ **** De Morgen

‘Consolation through beauty.’ **** Humo

‘Before Forgetting is a wonder of a novel, a book to set next to your bed so that it may enter your dreams, a magnificent work of art.’ Nina Weijers, author of the The Consequences


Peter Verhelst (b. 1962) is a poet, novelist and director. Since 2006 he has worked as a director and writer at the Ghent theatre NTGent. His work has won several major prizes, including the Golden Owl, the Jan Campert Prize, the Flemish Culture Prize, the Gouden Griffel, the Ida Gerhardt Poetry Prize, the Herman de Coninck Prize and the F. Bordewijk Prize.

© Stephan Vanfleteren

Additional book information

  • Novel
  • ISBN 9789403105208
  • Number of pages: 336
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: € 19,99
  • English sample translation available