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Paul Mennes

Paul Mennes was born in 1967 and made his literary debut in 1994 with the short novel ‘Tox.’ The humorous take on the Lost Generation is set in a provincial village where sixteen year old Tox spends his days zapping, snorting cocaine and writing a self-help manual for suicide. Compared favourably to popular brat-pack authors such as Brett Easton Ellis and Douglas Coupland, the book won Mennes the Flemish Debut Prize.

Two more books - ‘Soap’ and ‘Web’ - followed in quick succession making up a trilogy he later called ‘Toast.’ In 1999 he collaborated with computer artist Eric Joris on a multimedia project reworking Dante’s ‘Divina Commedia’ into a contemporary vision called ‘Kaufhaus Inferno.’

Best sentence
In his 2001 book ‘Poes poes poes’ (Puss, Puss, Puss) Mennes turns his critical eye on the media. It earned him the Tzum Prize for the best sentence in a work of prose. The jury praised the ironic character of the sentence which was satiric while at the same time a comment on modern society:

“Soms had ze er toch een beetje spijt van dat ze geen feng-shui, tai chi, macrobiotiek of biseksualiteit gekozen had voor haar spirituele groei.” (Sometimes she felt a little sorry that she had not chosen feng-shui, tai chi, macrobiotics or bisexuality for her spiritual growth.)

Vlaams Nederlands Huis de Buren Radio Netherlands The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature

This author's Radio Book:

Paul Mennes
The Proposal

Like most of his work, his Radiobooks story is full of references to popular culture. A young man decides to propose to his Japanese girlfriend inspired by a scene from a Steven Spielberg movie.

“What I didn’t say was that Spielberg makes me sick. I like science fiction but what Spielberg cooks up is too sweet for me. Close Encounters of the Third Kind was OK until all the characters went down the new age road before the term had been invented. Jurassic Park was a clever way for Universal Studios’ merchandising and marketing department to break records. Raiders of the Lost Ark is escapism with too big a budget, and the sequels were computer games for which you had to buy cinema tickets. Minority Report and War of the Worlds were weighed down by the presence of that performing rodent Tom Cruise. And if I ever find anything like E.T. in the cellar, I’ll put down rat poison.”

The Proposal by Paul Mennes was translated by Michael Blass. The story is read by David Swatling.

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