Shutterspeed (And A Bit On Flemish Literature)


Shutterspeed - Erwin Mortier

Flemish literature and I are not what you would call a happy couple. We more or less tolerate each other as long as we stay away and don’t try to mingle. How I ended up reading a Flemish book in English translation beats me, but I am glad I did because this one might save me a trauma.

For those of you unfamiliar with Flemish literature, the main theme is often the coming of age of the main character who’s spending the final time of their innocent lives. Some of my previous ventures into the genre ended not so great with me being either bored out of mind after reading a mess of a book (The Sorrow Of Belgium, hailed as one of masterworks of Flemish literature I kept thinking it needed a proper editor) or being disgusted out of my mind also by reading a mess of a book (The Melting, I didn’t want to read it but it was the only book people were talking about and kept asking me why I hadn’t read it since ‘I read books’. The book basically just throws everything it can think of in terms of uneasy/gross things in hope of shocking the audience, but I felt beaten with this cheap trick to incite emotions). Also, the fact that my first thought on finishing Shutterspeed was ‘ Luckily this one didn’t involve a rape ‘  accounts for something.

Shutterspeed while following the path of the coming of age and his last innocent summer, was much nicer to read. The story is rather slow and I had a slight feeling that had I been reading the book in Dutch I would have found the writing too melodramatic, but in English for some reason I’m more permissive. It’s a short read and I would definitely try something else by Erwin Mortier.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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