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The Tao of Literature.Life as it is, according to Patricia de Martelaere (with two Extracts from ‘The Unexpected Answer' by Patricia de Martelaere)
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The Tao of Literature.Life as it is, according to Patricia de Martelaere (with two Extracts from ‘The Unexpected Answer' by Patricia de Martelaere)

(Frank Hellemans) The Low Countries - 2006, № 14, pp. 163-171

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Patricia de Martelaere herself is unwilling to provide any detailed explanation of her novels. She refuses to give interviews and declines TV appearances. She is first and foremost a professor of philosophy, as well as being a brilliant essayist who writes lucidly and inspiredly about the very essence of life itself, about love and death. At the end of 2004, she published 'The Unexpected Answer' (Het onverwachte antwoord), a bizarre love story which no-one can quite make head or tail of. Transparent as De Martelære's essays are, just as ‘unexpectedly' obscure and sometimes even irritating is this literary tour de force, full of associations, philosophical plays on words and lyrical asides. And yet in a certain sense this novel is her ultimate book. Not just because it is twice as thick as her four previous novels. Anyone who browses through the essays and readings she produced on the literary sidelines will gradually discover the oriental ideas that lie behind the new De Martelaere. If prior to 1992 her writing was rational and Western , since then she has been oriental and inspired in equal measure. What does the path look like that this philosopher wielding a literary pen has followed until now?

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