Koen Peeters: Grote Europese roman [Great European Novel]

The latest addition to my website is Koen PeetersGrote Europese roman [Great European Novel]. This is a tongue-in-cheek novel that may be many things but is not the Great European Novel. Our hero is Robin, working for a Belgian firm n Brussels which makes gadgets (we know no more about it). Robin is in marketing. The boss, Theo, whose parents were killed in the Holocaust, takes a shine to Robin and engages him to find out what the firm needs to do to compete in the current digital world and to visit other European firms to find out what they are doing. Each chapter is named after a European capital, but Robin does not visit them all. For some of them he meets people from the capital. For others, the connection is limited to say the least. Oslo, for example is one of the names of Onslow, the firm’s computer security expert. Robin takes an entirely detached view towards both Europe as a whole and to the individual cities he visits. He also finds that the other firms are no more adapted to the new digital challenges than his. He does, however, collect a few foreign words and occasional titbits in his Moleskine notebook. It is a delightful cynical look at Europe and the world, with Europe seemingly out of touch with the new realities. However, it is not The Great European Novel by any stretch of the imagination and, I have no doubt, Peeters never intended it to be.

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