is a Belgian writer. Her work is notable for tragicomic and absurdist elements, and a delicate prose shot through with melancholy.
Her debut novel Varkensribben (published by Prometheus) made it to the shortlist of the Bronzen Uil, an annual Dutch-Flemish literature prize for the best Dutch debut.
In 2023, the German translation of Varkensribben, Der berühmte Tiefpunkt, was published by Arche Verlag.
Amarylis grew up in West Flanders and currently lives in Antwerp, where she grows organic vegetables.
Amarylis loves to talk.
And likes to read your letters.
Marieke is the youngest of four sisters in a family with an absentee father and an unstable mother. She works in a care home, where she’s happiest in the kitchen, lovingly preparing pigs’ cheeks with onions and gravy, oven dishes with a crispy cheese crust, vol-au-vents and spaghetti sauce. A sharp contrast with the bland, watery meals of sausage and apple sauce that are the usual fare for the old people in the home.
Marieke is kind and considerate towards everyone: the care home residents, her mother, her boyfriend Blok – who she’s loved since childhood – and his interfering mother. But then her boyfriend heartlessly forces her to go on a diet. They grow ever further apart, and when Blok deludes himself into thinking that Marieke’s having an affair, she doesn’t contradict him. She’s forced out of their home during a scorching summer, just when her summer clothes are stuck at the laundrette. While homeless, she finds consolation in comfort food and memories of happier times.
Things aren’t going too well at work, either. The home’s relocation from old to new, more modern premises runs into problems, and Marieke finds herself left behind with the residents in the sweltering heat. She lavishes the affection she herself never gets on the old people in her care. Dressed in jeans that are much too hot, Marieke ends up going into battle about the appalling treatment of the home’s residents and finds an unexpected ally: the husband of her favourite resident.
THROUGH HER SUBTLE NARRATION, WRY HUMOUR AND FLIGHTS INTO VIVID FANTASY, AMARYLIS DE GRYSE OFFERS A RAW AND MOVING DEPICTION OF SHAME, LOVE, AND HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS THAT FEELS ESPECIALLY PERTINENT IN THE CONTEXT OF CONTEMPORARY FAT LIBERATION MOVEMENTS AND RENEWED INTEREST IN TRAUMA AND PHYSICAL HEALTH.