Fiction from NER 35.3
Once upon a time a man and a woman had a child who lived. Then they had another child and it died, and then another child and that child also died. The first child was a little girl, the second and third were boys. The children were named Katherine, Benjamin, and Robert, but their names were mostly shortened to Kathy, Ben, and Rob. After the death of the third child, the man and the woman chose not to have another child but instead to have a dog that their young daughter christened Lady. The man took pictures of his wife, his daughter, and his dog and then asked his wife to take a picture of himself. The photos were developed and put in the photo album. “Finally, we are four!” the woman wrote beside it, but barely three years later, she left the man and thus, indirectly, her daughter and dog as well . . .
—translated from the Dutch by Margie Franzen and Sandra Boersma
Kristien Hemmerechts is a well-known Belgian author of novels, short stories, and nonfiction. She writes in Dutch and publishes her work in the Netherlands, as many Flemish (i.e., Dutch-speaking Belgian) writers do. She’s a lecturer in literature and creative writing at the University of Louvain, Brussels. Her work has been translated into French and German. Her latest novel, The Woman Who Fed the Dogs, was inspired by the case of Marc Dutroux (World Books, 2015).