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The Angel Maker

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  8,056 ratings  ·  554 reviews
A literary page-turner about one man's macabre ambition to create life-and secure immortality

The village of Wolfheim is a quiet little place until the geneticist Dr. Victor Hoppe returns after an absence of nearly twenty years. The doctor brings with him his infant children-three identical boys all sharing a disturbing disfigurement. He keeps them hidden away until Charlot
Paperback, 346 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Penguin Group (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,056 ratings  ·  554 reviews

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Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenna by: Nancy Mills
Shelves: horror
"Bone cancer in children? What's that about?' How dare you? How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It's not right. It's utterly, utterly evil." 
~(Stephen Fry, when asked what he would say to "God" if he ended up at the pearly gates)

One of my favourite things about Goodreads is how many wonderful books I've learned about through my friends that I otherwise would not have found, mainly books by non-American authors that were published before I began worki
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Belgian author Stefan Brijs brings to life a modern-day mad scientist and his greater-than-God ambitions in this utterly compelling, slightly terrifying novel of the lengths one man will go to to achieve his goal.

On the 13th of October, 1984, Dr Victor Hoppe returns to his birthplace, a village called Wolfheim situated near the three borders of Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany, after a twenty-year absence. The villagers, nosy and gossipy and superstitious, remember the day clearly, as Dr Hop
Yasmin ✨
I can't say this book was /bad/, but... it was pretty underwhelming. I really did have some high hopes for it, and it turned out to be kind of meh. I liked the idea of this story, but it wasn't worked out very well. I had hoped for a lot more depth.

The first 150 pages I really liked: the story was creepy and there was this big mystery hanging around Hoppe and his children. But after that, my interest just kind of dropped. That was mainly because the story is incredibly repetitive. Things you alr
I can imagine that this book appeals to many people, but I have to confess that I wasn’t really moved by it, at least not more than by an average horror movie. Stefan Brijs can write, that is clear: the author is in control of his composition, through a strong story line, changing language registers, regularly shifting perspectives and above all a good control of the suspense. The theme of the 'Angel-maker', the bio-engineering of human beings, elevates this story to a higher level, and gives th ...more
Mike Keirsbilck
Sep 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: r-52-books
For a novel that deals with religion, genetic engineering and delusion, this novel remains awfully shallow.

It"s the story of Victor Hoppe. Years after his departure, he returns to his small hometown, together with his triplets.
He hides the kids from the community, supposedly because they're frail and ill. Rumors start to spread, and Victor Hoppe is scrutinized in suspicion. When he more or less by accident starts his private practice as the town's doctor, and people get sneak peeks of the childr
Apr 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Review to follow.
May 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Babies are creepy enough to begin with, and Stefan Brijs has made them even creepier. But it's not the kids' fault, not in this story. These aren't your run-of-the-mill jam-handed sorts of kids, the ones with Kool-Aid around their mouths. Oh, no. No, no. Give me one of those any day. Just keep these kids from this book away from me.

And, yes, that's absolutely, totally unfair of me to say. It's not their fault, as I already mentioned. They're just as innocent as I am here, but they really creeped
Mar 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch
Nice book.

This is the story of a genius doctor who thinks he is challenged by God in the creation of life. Set in a small village in the German speaking part of Belgium, close to the Dutch and German border, the story unfolds as the doctor returns to his childhood place with his three newborn sons. Early in the story there are subtle (well, actually not that subtle) hints which immediately set the whole thing in a creepy, eerie atmosphere. That atmosphere is gradually expanded up onto the point
A haunting fable for the modern age. A parable with a vivisected heart. And above all a threat, a warning—not just about the intersection of science and faith but about the very foundations in which we place our trust; justice, family, death. The Angel Maker isn’t marketed as a horror novel but it shook me more than any book I’ve read that purposefully tries to elicit terror, perhaps because it takes place entirely in the domain of the real.


Global Challenge: Belgium
Mar 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hmm.. Chandra
Recommended to Jenna by: Kraig
This is one of those few books I read and quite quite figure out what to make of it. I think it was good-- really good, in fact, and so disturbing that I don't think I got very much sleep last night. But did I like it? Not so sure.

I never really connected with any of the characters, to tell the truth. Maybe that's why some of the time I didn't feel I was quite as sad as I ought. I was so dissimilar from every last one of them, and I'm not trying to say that this book should be "normalized" so I
Mar 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must confess to never having read a novel by a Belgian author before despite being aware of Georges Simenon and almost reading an Amelie Nothomb novel once but I have been very impressed by my first foray into Belgian literary territory with this novel by Flemish writer Stefan Brijs, superbly translated by Hester Velmans.

The cover would have you believe this is a thriller but it is so much more than that - granted there is a gripping plot with many twists and turns but this novel raises so man
I doubted between giving this highly original and well-crafted tale three or four stars. Four would've been warranted for the Belgian author's exploration (albeit shallow, but hey, for a thriller) of complex themes such as the relation between faith and science; the perennial battle of good vs. evil in a whopping eclectic mix of Catholic traditionalism, absolute imperativism, and boundless positivist makability; misunderstood genius; parenthood or rather the lack thereof; and the destructive psy ...more
Sep 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, dutch
i really don't know how to rate this book. It made me very uncomfortable and it was superduper dark and depressing and every character was unlikeable and weird. reallyreallyreally strange book.
Nancy Mills
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a delightfully creepy book! I'm not a scientist, but sequencing dna in your home lab sounds like a stretch...although this doctor was a bona fide reproductive and cloning genius, so I will accept this. It is dark and quite horrible at times but I couldn't put it down. Very well written.
Irene exquisitepages
weirdest book ever
Anne Vivliohomme
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch-lit-class
Messed up, but for making me shiver I'm going to give this creepy baby some credit.
Nov 24, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite an enjoyable school read :)
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
The atmosphere and main character of this novel somehow reminded me of "The Perfume". So as you can probably already guess this was a dark book, a book that didn't make you feel comfortable in your own skin. However it was full of suspense and fascinating like a thriller should be.
I got a minor complaint/doubts about cloning though. It's called epigenetics. Having the exact same genome to begin with doesn't mean there won't be any change. I mean cloning is scary but there are still random epige
Karas Jim
This is a great book that addresses many ethical issues about scientific progress, while simultaneously adding religious and superstitious elements to the mix. The reader takes in a highly accurate image of how people reacted to advances in fertilization and cloning techniques in the 20th century. At the same time, the story ends up rather predictable, repetitive and stale after a while. Still, a great read.
Honor Wroe
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very weird! But I really enjoyed this! Couldn't wait to find out the ending- not what I expected!
Mar 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring.. Can’t wait till I get to read my own books again.
Hazy Benjamin
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This was the first time I have read a book translated from Dutch. It was a dark story with a few twists and turns. Although it had a slow start it was a real page turner at the end!
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mondeling
The fourth book I had to read for Dutch class.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That ending though...
Jo Ann
Mad scientist clones self, wants to be the creator of life, has a personal vendetta against god.

Author Stefan Brijs does an excellent job of making you understand the reasoning behind Doctor Hoppe's motives and madness, but to be honest I just couldn't feel the horror of the whole situation like I thought I should have. Even though the story is well written, it just felt to slow. Yes, he does throw in a few startling moments, but it just wasn't enough to keep me turning pages. Toward the middle
Vera VB
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Victor, a brilliant doctor with no emotional connections and with an obsession with the Bible and with beating God in creating life, crosses ethical bounderies of genetic manipulation and IVF technics. I have read this book several times already and it keeps baffling me. This is one of the best books ever written and if I may be chauvinistic, it's written by a Belgian who has received several nominations and prices with this book.
Nov 12, 2012 rated it liked it

I have been thinking whether to read this book or not. Since it won a lot of awards, I finally decided to give it a shot.

If I had to discribe the story in one word, I would say awkward. At some parts it was heartwarming, at some parts it was very shocking.

I don't know if I'm happy that I finished it. It will probably take a little while before these thousands of thoughts that I have can fully sink :-).
Sapphire Pyro
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel-grownup
The Angel Maker is a haunting tale of a strange scientist who just wants to help others.... and also wants to beat God. The novel explores the ethical limits of science and religion. I find the story very compelling, intriguing, and fascinating~

~ Longer Review @ Daydream Sanctuary
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Wonderful book, story beautifully told 1 37 Aug 23, 2007 05:15AM  

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Stefan Brijs (born 29 December 1969) is a Belgian novelist writing in Dutch. He was born in Genk, where he lived most of his life. He finished his studies for teacher in 1990. Since 1999 he is a full-time writer. In 2003 he moved to the province of Antwerp.

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