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‘We Playact It Because We Mean It’. The Absurd Oeuvre of Annelies Verbeke
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‘We Playact It Because We Mean It’. The Absurd Oeuvre of Annelies Verbeke

(Lise Delabie) The Low Countries - 2018, № 26, pp. 136-147

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Annelies Verbeke (b. 1976) is a parade. She is a multitude of men, women, children and cross-dressers, all of whom are called Annelies Verbeke. She transforms all these different selves into the series of remarkable figures who populate her pages: an author wakes up as a bear; after a failed relationship, Monique Champagne becomes stubbornly determined to save fish; a highly gifted boy called Hadrianus launches into the haka whenever the mood takes him. The author has a fondness for the short story, a genre for which she is happy to fight. In the short story, all the Annelieses get to have their turn. The short story is playtime and writing is a game, but one with serious stakes. By transforming facets of herself into characters, the author investigates the possibility of an alternative and often absurd existence. This makes the short story an ideal breeding ground for cultivating a wide range of outsider figures.

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