1976, Leuven Linguist and literary scholar. Artist. Playwright. Video artist. Opinion former.
At the age of twelve she won the Junior Journalist competition. In 2000 she published her first book Onder elkaar [Amongst Us], a story about the disintegration of an eccentric family. Her family chronicle We and Me, which she wrote in 2013, became a bestseller which was nominated for just about every Dutch-language book award there is. Flemish and Dutch reviewers pronounced the book to be the European equivalent of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. Characteristic of De Coster’s oeuvre are the striking images and profound stories. She now has seven novels to her credit, five of which have been or are being translated.
According to the great master of Flemish literature, Tom Lanoye, the ‘pen she wields is the most wilful, outlandish and attractive of any in Belgium’.
In We and Me, the reader lands in the midst of an upper class world teeming with dramas, large and small, where love, truth and ambition are regularly at odds.
In a Flemish parcel of land atop a mountain, lives the family Vandersanden. The neurotic, aristocratic Mieke combs her carpets and keeps a close eye on her family and neighbours. Her husband, the self-made man Stefaan, has made a career in a scandal-plagued pharmaceutical company. Daughter Sarah, overprotected and curious about real life, seeks her own way in the middle of her generation, but will she fall prey to a major family secret or can she break the old pattern on her own? We and Me is a brilliant, astute, family novel, full of intriguing characters sketched with great psychological insight and compassion. The book takes the measure of the modern European, and demonstrates the strength of family ties.
I thought this novel was gripping and very hard to put down. De Coster writes fluently, elegantly changing perspective and narrative voice.
With her sublime, quirky pen, Saskia de Coster paints the tragic and the comic in a novel that is as much a literary Desperate Housewives as a European answer to Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom.