When Alice, an elderly woman, smells the coffee her husband Jules has just made, she gets up. This ritual repeats itself every day, until one morning she finds him lifeless on the sofa in the living room the coffee hasnt quite finished filtering through. While Jules slowly turns into a statue that seems to be carved out of marble, Alice reminisces about earlier days and tells him things she hasnt dared or been able to express before. When subsequently she has to come to terms with the sorrow and loss she is faced with, David, the autistic young son of a woman who lives in the same apartment building, becomes part of this process in an unexpected way. This deeply moving Belgian novel has been translated into many languages. The German edition alone has sold over 120,000 copies.
About the authors
Diane Broeckhoven has written close to 30 books, which have earned her various awards and have been translated worldwide. De buitenkant van meneer Jules was published to great acclaim in 2001. She lives in Antwerp, Belgium.
Liedewij Hawke has won the John Glassco Translation Prize and has been nominated four times for the Governor General's Literary Award for Translation (French to English), winning it in 1986 when it was still called the Canada Council Translation Prize. She lives in Toronto.