Winner of the 2014 Duff Cooper Prize
Winner of the 2015 Welsh Book of the Year Award
Shortlisted for the 2015 James Tait Black Memorial Prize
Shortlisted for the 2015 PEN Ackerley prize
Longlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize
Let me take you down the thin cobblestoned streets of the Belgian border town of Bouillon. Let me take you down the alleys that lead into its past. To a town peopled with eccentrics, full of charm, menace and wonder. To the days before television, to Marie Bodard’s sweetshop, to the Nazi occupation and unexpected collaborators. To a place where one neighbour murders another over the misfortune of pigs and potatoes. To the hotel where the French poet Verlaine his lover Rimbaud, holed up whilst on the run from family, creditors and the law.
This exquisite meditation on place, time and memory is an illicit peek into other people’s countries, into the spaces they have populated with their memories, and might just make you revisit your own in a new and surprising way.