The netherlands

Escape into fantasy: My Heavenly Favourite, by Lucas Rijneveld, reviewed

When Marieke Lucas Rijneveld won the International Booker Prize in 2020 for The Discomfort of Evening, a novel set in the Netherlands about the daughter of a dairy farmer growing up in a strict Christian household in the wake of the tragic death of her brother, the earthy, uncompromising voice was striking. The book was disturbing in its subject matter (the parents, blinded by grief, allow their remaining children to become semi-feral, experimenting with sex and death) and its visceral animal similes: bloody birth, brutal mating, culls for foot-and-mouth disease, slaughter. The ten-year-old girl protagonist had a lot in common with the author; and so it is again in My

Coronavirus is straining an already fractured EU

When EU finance ministers ended their crisis meeting this morning, they had spent 16 hours trying to establish what collective help, if any, they wish to offer to the countries most affected by the epidemic: Spain and Italy. They agreed on not a thing. Instead, the meeting broke up acrimoniously with Italy, Spain and France demanding that the European Central Bank issue ‘coronabonds’ to help finance economic recovery – while Germany, the Netherlands and others resisted. So we see the EU split along the same lines as did the 2008/09 crisis, and indeed along the same fault lines that have been growing ever wider over the past three decades. The