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The Discomfort of Evening

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  16,241 ratings  ·  2,666 reviews
I thought about being too small for so much, but that no one told you when you were big enough ... and I asked God if he please couldn't take my brother Matthies instead of my rabbit. 'Amen.'

Jas lives with her devout farming family in the rural Netherlands. One winter's day, her older brother joins an ice skating trip; resentful at being left alone, she makes a pervers
Paperback, 282 pages
Published March 5th 2020 by Faber & Faber (first published January 31st 2018)
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Elszwa Ik ben vast te streng, maar het ongemak werd zo nadrukkelijk gepresenteerd, dat het me begon te irriteren. Vandaar
de 3 sterren.…more
Ik ben vast te streng, maar het ongemak werd zo nadrukkelijk gepresenteerd, dat het me begon te irriteren. Vandaar
de 3 sterren.(less)
Claude Varieras She grew up in the Netherlands, where such things had happened, long before her birth; she doesn't even know what a Jew is, out of the protestant Bibl…moreShe grew up in the Netherlands, where such things had happened, long before her birth; she doesn't even know what a Jew is, out of the protestant Bible reading. Hold your claws.

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Average rating 3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,241 ratings  ·  2,666 reviews

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Mar 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Winner of the International Booker Prize 2020
In this grim, claustrophobic novel, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld masterfully evokes an increasing sense of doom - on this Dutch farm, the apocalypse is nearing. Our narrator and main character is 10-year-old Jas who grows up in a strict religious family who owns a dairy farm. When she detects signs that her father might slaughter her favorite rabbit, she begs God to take her older brother instead - the plea of a child momentarily upset by her sibling. But
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
The struggle (and discomfort) is real with this winner of the Booker International Prize 2020.
Very unsettling, sad and more than a tad nasty.

It might sound crazy, but I miss my parents even though I see them every day. Maybe it’s just like the things we want to learn because we can’t do them yet: we miss everything we don’t have.

...that we can’t swap God - he’s the strongest Pokémon card we have.
Starting of with udders cooking into a stew on the first page, the environment where in Jas M
Roman Clodia
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Winner of the International Booker, 2020
... we've lost our way and there's no-one to ask for directions

It's become a reviewer's cliché to describe a book as 'dark', but wow, this one deserves the epithet! It's grim and gritty, grubby in places, awash with nauseating images and acts and yet still amounts to a wonderfully clear-eyed and compelling picture of a family dislocated and destroyed not just by grief, but by a failure to acknowledge and articulate it.

It's been a while since I read a
Mar 27, 2020 marked it as abandoned
Edit: Winner of the International Booker Prize 2020 and such a big dissapointment this is because it is the only one I could not finish. I have been debating with myself about trying to read this again but I don’t think I will. Obviosly the novel has many qualities and I am probably losing by not reading it but I am not forcing myself.

I tried to read this book multiple times but I failed. It is one of the favourites to make the shortlist according to The Mookse and the Gripes group and that was
Nat K

*** Winner of the International Booker Award 2020 ****

*** Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2020 ***

"Even though we didn't live in the South Pole, it was cold here, so cold that the lake had frozen over and the cows' drinking troughs were full of ice."

The scene is set that it's cold. Very cold. So cold that the lake near the family farm has frozen over, and is perfect for skating on.

" 'I'll be back before dark', he called to Mum. He turned around once again in the doorway and waved
Tom Mooney
Feb 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book is fucking disgusting. Disturbing. Needlessly graphic.

It was one of my most highly anticipated books of the year but I could barely stomach certain passages. They'll haunt me for quite a while.

There are detailed scenes of children abusing cows (albeit innocently). Abusing each other (sort of naively). Abusing themselves (knowingly). And it all seems so pointless.

Gross and very disappointing.
Winner of the International Booker Prize 2020

The last book I read which captured the confusion and darkness of a neglected childhood as perfectly as The Discomfort Of Evening is another Booker winner The God of Small Things. It is a hard task, even for the most accomplished of writers to make a child's voice compelling and immersive.

Poor Jas, our protagonist has an early encounter with death when her brother dies and her family is confronted with grief and the abstruseness of an end to human lif
Paul Fulcher
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The rightful winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize

Death announces itself in most cases, but we’re often the ones who don’t want to see or hear it. We knew that the ice was too weak in some places, and we knew the foot-and-mouth wouldn’t skip our village.

De avond is ongemak was a bestselling debut novel by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, published when they were 26, and has been translated from the Dutch as The Discomfort of Evening by Michele Hutchison.

The novel is begins just before Christmas
Elyse  Walters
May 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
I have so much to say … that I don’t know where to start.

I’ve had this book since first learning about it being the winner of the 2020 International Booker Price—
I put off reading it for obvious
“DISCOMFORT” reasons.
Many of my lovely respecting friends gave it very low ratings — gosh I understand!

There are probably as many - or more? 1 star ratings - than 5 stars….
It’s ABSOLUTELY THE MOST “Discomforting” book I’ve read all year.

I’ve been putting off offering up my views.
My mind is swimming
Britta Böhler
Nope, a 10 (-12) year old child narrator that thinks like a grown up just doesn't work for me.
Plus: When almost everything the narrator sees is compared to some form of snot or poop or bile or vomit the 'gross-ness' gets, well... boring.
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize.

I nod and think about the teacher who said I’d go far with my empathy and boundless imagination, but in time I’d have to find words for it because otherwise everything and everybody stays inside you. And one day, just like the black stockings which my classmates sometimes tease me about wearing because we’re Reformists – even though I never wear black stockings – I will crumple in on myself until I can only see darkness, eternal darkness.

Emily B
May 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This is an extremely odd book. It’s graphic but at the same time sort of detached.

What really struck me was how it felt so old fashioned but on the other hand computers other signs of modernity is mentioned.

The best thing about it for me was the insight into the way the narrator thinks and the childish ways she tries to make sense of her family life.
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I loved this book for the very reason many will hate it: it taints our image of children. Children are little people, as complex in their need to make sense of outside stimuli as we are. There is our adult fantasy of innocence, and then – much more profoundly – there is true innocence, one that doesn’t know yet right from wrong, as taught to us by our communities. This is a rural community, in The Netherlands. The houses are far-between, the weather cold. The central family lives on a farm. Ther ...more
Dec 20, 2020 rated it liked it
I felt very uncomfortable reading this novel. I wanted to just finish it so that I could be over and done with it.

NOTE: I was going to give this 2 stars at outset of writing this review. I know it is 3 stars. So bear with me as I struggle with myself…

I think my rating (2 stars) could be unfair. It is based on my visceral reaction to the novel…the terrible story and different things that happened within it. Could this stuff have happened? I guess so — terrible things happen in life. So yes, the
Apr 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2020, modern-lit
Winner of the Booker International Prize 2020

Another book that it is difficult to enjoy and even harder to assess - for me too much of the brutality seems a little gratuitous, but it is undoubtedly striking and will probably be memorable.

The narrator of the book is Jas, and at the start of the book she is ten years old, the third of four children living on a Dutch dairy farm. The story describes her mental disintegration as her family is scarred by the death of her elder brother Matthies and lat
Sep 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: dutch-literature
For decades, Dutch literature has been dominated by tormented male authors, men who mostly wrote about middle-aged men, completely stuck in life, full of frustration, mostly drinking, and often with a very derogatory view of the opposite sex. Epigones such as Jeroen Brouwers, A.F.Th. Van der Heijden, Leon De Winter, and to a lesser degree Tom Lanoye and Arnon Grunberg (I agree, the latter two focus on a slightly younger generation and have different accents) brought this genre to unprecedented h ...more
May 27, 2020 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: 2020 International Booker Longlist
An audacious novel blurring transgressive fiction and a young writer's cathartic reckoning with a family who refused to talk about emotions.

The early chapters were packed with dark absurd comedy, and a disgustingness that combines the silliness of small children shouting "poobum!" as a pretend expletive, with the imaginative skill of the best British creative swearing. Though it does depend how you react to daftness like "When the teacher was telling us about it, I wondered what it would be like
Barry Pierce
Read my full review of this on the Irish Times: ...more
Eric Anderson
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Every now and then the publishing world believes it's found a new literary wunderkind – someone whose prose and voice is so daringly original it breaks the mould of fiction. Marieke Lucas Rijneveld is being touted as such a writer. Born in 1991, Rijneveld has previously published a book of poetry which led a Dutch newspaper to declare them the literary talent of the year. “The Discomfort of Evening” is their debut novel and it has also been acclaimed in the Netherlands having been nominated for ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This book won the International Booker Prize a day ago or so and at that point I was at the halfway point. It is about Jas, a girl of around 10, trying to make sense of the world around her after the death of her brother. It takes place in the rural Netherlands, where her family runs a farm with cows. The voice of Jas is vibrant, combining the limited understanding of that age with what she can observe and with what she's understood from what others have taught her - religion, science, manners, ...more
An impossible book to review, in a way. Objectively speaking I can appreciate the writing and the stark beauty that occasionally graces the pages; the depth of despair and grief revolving around the death of a son/brother is profound. There were sudden moments or glimmers of mood that evoke this despair that crushed me. But otherwise I was also crushed by the unremitting grimness, the ugliness, the brutality. Up to a point it became repetitive to the point of numbing me to it and I was bored. Se ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The discomfort of disappointment

For the first 50 pages or so I thought this was great and couldn’t stop reading it. Then it became repetitive to the point where I only wished for all the characters to kill themselves so all the misery (mine and theirs) would come to an end.

On the surface, this spiral into madness has everything I long for in a novel; good writing, feelings of darkness, bleakness and unhappiness (Ahah! I know what you’re thinking!), although with every page I turned my disappoin
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dark, visceral, and claustrophobic, The Discomfort of Evening explores the numerous contours of grief, neglect, depression, perversion, and cruelty through the eyes of its child protagonist, the 10-year-old Jas Mulder. When she detects signs of her father's intentions to slaughter her pet rabbit, Jas prays—out of fear and momentary anger—for God to take her elder brother, Mattheis, instead. He does: Mattheis never returns, his death plunging the idyll of the Mulders' dairy farm into a cold and i ...more
The Discomfort of Reading is maybe a better title here. I realise I am unlikely to be the only one to have made that observation.
The exact level of discomfort is hard to quantify and may depend upon your taste for .... poo literature. As an additional trigger, many animals are harmed in quite inventive ways. I would place this more on the "ooooh gross" end of the spectrum than the violent "misery porn" end. However, be prepared for a book that sets out like a wild teenager to push all your butt
Mar 05, 2020 marked it as dnf
I wanted to read this book because it was longlisted for the Booker International prize and because some GR friends rated it highly. Part of me was nervous about starting it because I had heard it included scenes of animal and sexual abuse.

I made it as far as about page 100 (NetGalley ebook, so no page numbers) but then made the (unusual for me) decision to put it down and move on.

I can cope with abuse in a book if I think it is well written. If a book doesn't seem to me to be well written but
Mar 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Winner of the International Booker Prize

Despite its striking cover and beautiful title, this was a discomforting novel. It's not the kind of novel one enjoys. Its themes are not fun - there's grief that manifests in uncomfortable ways, self-mutilation, animal cruelty/death, incestuous sexual experimentations and a whole lot of weird stuff. To my great relief and consternation, I believed it all and the weird stuff never felt gratuitous or exaggerated.

I usually struggle with child narrators.
Abbie | ab_reads
I wanted to say thank you to @faberbooks for bringing this book into my life but I’m not sure that’s the right term - thank you for gifting me one of the most disturbing, discomfiting books I’ve ever read?

The Discomfort of Evening is relatively simple in terms of plot. A family of six becomes five after a tragic skating accident claims the oldest son. One of the daughters, Jas, blames herself for his death after a perverse bargain she made with God the morning of his death. And thus ensues the
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
When I was in my twenties I used to actively seek out books that would shock me, real taboo breakers. However as I grew older, the novelty wore off. Saying that now and then I don’t mind reading eyebrow raising books now and then, as long as it is done properly.

The Discomfort of Evening was a big hit in it’s native Holland back in 2018 and I can see why. This is a novel that is designed to make the reader feel uncomfortable, to squirm and be amazed at the perverse actions of the human race.

Jas i
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
According to the pastor, discomfort is good. In discomfort we are real.

The Discomfort of Evening — winner of the International Booker Prize for 2020 — is a tough book to read: told from the perspective of a young girl whose family is mired in grief and ongoing tragedy, the details are focussed on the visceral, the scatalogical; there is prepubescent sexual exploration that borders on abuse; parental control and neglect and threats of suicide; animal torture and culling; bullying, desperation
Mar 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
This is a really unpleasant book, distasteful and unnecessarily violent. It’s not just dark, but bizarrely dark, and I felt that the author was deliberately setting out to shock the reader. The writing is impressive in its way, but it’s not my way, and it felt more like self-indulgent wallowing in misery rather than an intelligent attempt to explore the ravages of grief. Ten-year-old Jas is devastated, as are all her family, after her brother dies in a tragic accident. Unable to cope, and with n ...more
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Marieke Lucas Rijneveld grew up in a Reformed farming family in North Brabant (NL) before moving to Utrecht. One of the greatest new voices in Dutch literature, their first poetry collection, Calfskin, was awarded the C. Buddingh’ Prize for best poetry debut in 2015, with newspaper de Volkskrant naming them literary talent of the year. In 2018, Atlas Contact published their first novel, The Disco ...more

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