Michael Bijnens grew up as the son of an Antwerp prostitute. After graduating from the Royal Institute for Theatre, Cinema and Sound in Brussels, he rapidly made a name for himself as a playwright. He finds inspiration in his own experiences. A stay of several months in Rio de Janeiro resulted in a monologue about a young woman living on an illegal dump, as well as a film about the relationship between evangelism and drug-related violence. And a trip to Mexico inspired the theatre piece with which he graduated: La Línea. In 2015 he published his first novel, Cinderella, a work that draws on his early life. A German translation will be published in 2017.
Bijnens’ work is set in a tragic universe full of dealers, whores, cops, outlaws, priests, psychopathic bankers and clownish revolutionaries.
Atrium Verlag, 2017
Original title: Cinderella (Atlas Contact, 2015)
The son of a whore opens a brothel and so becomes his mother’s pimp. Welcome to the Cinderella, a family business in which whores are sacred and criminals do not know their penis from their pistol. In this world, a son tries to save his mother from the irreparable trauma of her existence, an endeavour that puts him at risk of losing not only her, but also himself. The confrontations between mother and son are embedded in a panoramic tableau of the Flemish underworld. The book also features a carnival procession of characters who all excel in awkward tragedy. Cinderella is an expansive novel written in raw and flowery prose about life in a brothel and the inescapable bond between mother and child.
This book is so confusing, intriguing, dark, and horrifying, you will want to devour each page. Bravo.
Read and bloody well approved. Absolutely fantastic, I am impressed. Lively, passionate language.
Saskia De Coster
Bijnens undermines with style the question of authenticity that feeds the ghouls. [...] His feeling for the grotesque is grandiose; the dialogues between mother and son are sublime. [...] Bijnens’ writing is as tough as the lives of Cinderella’s characters.