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Wij en ik ➳ Wij en ik Read ➻ Author Saskia de Coster – In a Flemish housing estate on top of a mountain lives the Vandersanden family The neurotic aristocratic Mieke combs her carpets while keeping a close eye on her family and her neighbours Her husband In a Flemish housing estate on top of a mountain lives the Vandersanden family The neurotic aristocratic Mieke combs her carpets while keeping a close eye on her family and her neighbours Her husband the self made man Stefaan is building up a career in a pharmaceutical company that is threatened by scandal Daughter Sarah overprotected Wij en MOBI :Ê by her parents and curious for the real life is finding her own path much like the rest of her generation Will Sarah become the victim of the big family secret or will she succeed in breaking an old pattern.

  • Paperback
  • 448 pages
  • Wij en ik
  • Saskia de Coster
  • English
  • 16 May 2015
  • 9789462380615

About the Author: Saskia de Coster

Saskia De Coster in de Nederlandstalige Wikipedia.

10 thoughts on “Wij en ik

  1. Elyse Walters Elyse Walters says:

    I was so excited to read this book It was endorsed by several authors whose books I enjoy read blurb Saskia de Coster has won writing awards in her country Belgium its a family drama story how could this book not be great? It could ‘not be great’ This novel starts in 1980 and spans to 2013 The beginning was slow but I read pages of it twice needing extra time to understand who the unannounced visitors were’the we’ visitors were visiting a wealthy estate in Belgium We the readers begin getting the ‘we’ the narrators rap list before we know who ‘we’they are’We’ drives in a car’We’ shares about the housing villas and the residents that live on the mountain estate in Belgium’We’ drives on a narrow road up the mountain towards ‘their’ family house the villa on the other side of the road number 7 Nightingale Lane It’s so gigantic with an enormous chimney a large bright green lawn with oak trees and daffodilsthere’s no avoiding it’We’ tells us about the properties there’s room for each of the villas to have a swimming pool tennis court behind their garden and horse stables’We’ tells us they see a golden retriever lying impeccable on a front garden and the smell of pine needles and horse manure hangs in the air’We’ tells us that all the residents of the housing estate are at about the same stage in their lives “They’re bringing a new generation into the world in this paradise that they themselves discovered and developed They live a respectable distance from each other because they respect each other‘s privacy” We the readers meet the Vandersanden familyStefaan graduated summa cum lauded as a doctor in medicine and has an MBA in business He works for a pharmaceutical company Stefaan had an investment plan that went sour Lawyers demanded that he put an end to was lab business immediately They threaten to wipe out his entire future from which he would never recover from financially Stafaan becomes depressed and is even suicidalMelanie Vandersanden Plottier Stefaan’s elderly mother She is no taller than the rose bushes in the front garden is bordering on blindness has orthopedically encased feetbut still drives around in her Fiat She can give her son a good“tongue lashing” when the occasion calls for it and she is known far and wide as a first class “grumbling curmudgeon” There have been tragedies that have she has endured over the years but she never talks about themMieke is Stefaan’s wife She is a very obsessive compulsive neurotic housecleaning house wifeSarah is Stefaan’s and Mieke’s daughter She’s my favorite character Oh she’s very boring at the beginning of the story as baby but when she becomes a rebellious teenager she’s uite funny as a rebel hating both parents She has her own problems eating disorder superficial friends This book moves from Belgium to AmericaEveryone grows older But this book is missing a deep soul for meI don’t need the characters to be likable none arebut I’d like to see ‘some’ growth by somebody in the family over this many years I’m not sure anyone grew upAnd maybe that’s the books bleak message“We Me” we’re the same No changes just the same — generation after generation Sarah finally understood her mother as she got older “ money says a lot than expression of love” yikesSoin the endwe look at what we inherit from our parents And what defines our very own identity I can’t say this book was irresistibleyet I kept reading and re reading sentences I wanted to like it It’s possible this novel will sink in for me deeper as weeks move on The dark undertow is unflinching but in my opinion it needed humor such as in “The Corrections” by Jonathan Franzen33 starsenjoyable to a point

  2. Marc Marc says:

    I have given this book a fair chance I think because the Flemish writer Saskia De Coster has already won several literary prizes But for me it was a let down Okay in the vein of Jonathan Franzen or – another Flemish writer Tom Lanoye she brings a disconcerting image of middle class family life Like Franzen and Lanoye she punctures civil conventions and bourgeois hypocrisy But it is done with so much stress and the characters are so caricatural that after 50 pages it no longer fascinates Now take the sour grandmother with a compulsive chasting neurosis or the seemingly successful manager who is a complete failure at home as a father and a husband and of course the all pervading hypocrisy the outward appearance that is upheld at all prices etc Nothing new or surprising there But it is especially the laconic sarcastic tone of De Coster that bothered me she constantly maintains a smug we all know better attitude in her storytelling a style that you normally associate with an adolescent No in comparaison Frantzen and Lanoye although not my favorite writers offer much complex characters less obvious intrigues and literary frills

  3. Cathy Beyers Cathy Beyers says:

    After a slow start I got into this book and really started appreciating the atmosphere and characters Beautifully written filled with the same doubts and observations about Belgium Europe and the world that haunt a lot of people of my generation especially those who have left behind the homeland I may have to reread parts of this to savor them thoroughly

  4. D D says:

    Disappointing Cardboard characters No story to speak of It may be me I don't like Claus either

  5. Meg - A Bookish Affair Meg - A Bookish Affair says:

    In “We Me” is a uietly observant story of a family made up of a mother father and daughter This book covers almost thirty years in the life of this family Their life seems not unfamiliar to many other families they struggle with the same thoughts and the same struggles throughout the book Some of the characters grow than others I was excited to read this book as part of Boekenweek and as an introduction to Saskia de Coster who has won a few literary accoladesThis book started out slowly for me We see how the family interacts with each other Sarah the daughter of the family is very young when the book opens In a lot of ways she is the character that grows and changes the most throughout the book I did like following her journey throughout the book Some of the other characters just don’t seem to learn throughout the book which was a bit frustratingDe Coster does a great job of writing complicated characters These characters are not necessarily likeable but you get a good feel for what drives them and what makes them tick I did appreciate all of the observations and this is very much a character driven novel rather than action Overall there are some pretty keen observations of human behavior throughout the book This would be a good pick for anyone interested in character studies

  6. Stacey Woods Stacey Woods says:

    Saskia de Coster is already well established as an author in her native Belgium but is newly translated for the English market She shows her skill here as she picks apart the every day life of the Vandersanden family and highlights the ridiculous starting with the public face of a family that has very private idiosyncraciesAt the heart of the family is Sarah who is just a baby at the beginning of the novel but who blossoms throughout past the tricky teenage stage to become an independent woman at the end but how has she been affected by how she and her family had lived in her early life?There were definite moments of dark humour in the novel but also some genuinely tragic moments particularly those regarding Stefaan’s brother and the characters are carefully written and contrast well – particularly Mieke’s larger than life brother in comparison to Stefaan’s cantankerous motherAs a character study the book works well and it’s definitely for those who are looking for depth rather than non stop action

  7. Ruzica Ruzica says:

    At times an interesting read but overall I feel kind of tricked by its futility It is a slow paced portrait of a rich Flemish family living a privileged empty life Each character father mother daughter has its own story they intertwine and the core of the drama as I understood it lies in a cursed gene of the father and the daughter feels she might be infected with this suicidal gene too So it's pretty much unremarkable story written in an unremarkable way presenting the characters which is impossible to love I would recommend it if you have tons of time in your hands or if you want to get to know current European literature voices

  8. Vic Van Vic Van says:

    What a disappointment especially after all the good I had read about it None of the characters did appeal to me It's a story with no definite ending And the We versus I concept she attempts to maintain throughout the book amounts to little than nothing No if this is Flemish literature at its best I'm done with it

  9. March_hare March_hare says:

    A painfully accurate analysis of life in an upper class Flemish family Definitely an interesting read

  10. Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits) Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits) says:

    See of my book reviews on my blog Literary FlitsI had been looking forward to this highly praised Flemish novel especially after reading glowing reviews such as the one on Turn Around However while I liked the writing style and sense of era and place that De Coster evokes I feel at the end of 400 plus pages that I managed to completely miss the point I struggled to empathise with the rich central family because their repression and lack of communication with each other meant that I was kept at arm's length too I understand that the disintegration of this family was a tragedy for them but I couldn't care enough about any of the individual characters to actually become invested in their lives The occasional narrative voice switch from third person to a first person 'we' was baffling and I never did figure out who that 'we' was meant to beI am sure I will be in a minority with this less than enthusiastic review and perhaps I just picked the wrong time for me to engage with We And Me

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