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Pierre Mertens


Pierre Mertens was born in 1939 in Brussels, on the day, according to Mertens, on which Hitler decided to invade Belgium. His father was a journalist and his mother a biologist. The family spent the war in Bordeaux. On returning to Belgium after the War, the young Mertens tried his hand at writing. In his teens, he was involved in sport as well as politics, particularly as a result of Algeria. He attended the Université Libre de Bruxelles, where he studied law. He married and had two children, one born on the day of Kennedy’s assassination. He became interested in the cinema, particularly Godard. He started work as a sociology researcher and produced works on human rights. In 1969 he published his first novel and continued to publish novels and stories, as well as making a film, writing an operetta libretto and publishing works on human rights. In 1979 he became professor of comparative literature at the Institut National des Arts du Spectacle. He later became director Centre de Sociologie de la littérature. In 1986 he spent a year in Berlin and used the experience to write his best-known novel Les éblouissements (Shadowlight), which won many prizes. He has continued to write novels, stories, as well as non-fiction. His 1995 work Une paix royale [A Royal Peace] was very controversial as it attacked the Belgian royal family.

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Pierre Mertens (in French)
Pierre Mertens (in French)


1969 L’Inde ou l’Amérique
1970 Le niveau de la mer
1971 La fête des anciens
1974 Les bons offices
1974 L’imprescriptibilité des crimes de guerre et contre l’humanité
1977 Nécrologies
1978 Terre d’asile
1982 Ombres au tableau
1982 La Passion de Gilles : opera
1984 Perdre
1984 Terreurs
1987 Les éblouissements (Shadowlight)
1987 Berlin, un guide intime
1988 Collision
1989 Uwe Johnson, le prescripteur de mur
1989 L’agent double
1990 Lettres clandestines
1990 Les chutes centrales
1991 Les phoques de San Francisco
1993 Flammes
1995 Une paix royale [A Royal Peace]
1997 Une seconde patrie
1998 Tout est feu
1998 La littérature malgré tout
2001 Perasma
2001 Rilke ou l’ange déchiré
2003 Écrire après Auschwitz?
2004 La violence et l’amnésie
2007 Les chutes centrales
2009 Le don d’avoir été vivant
2009 Paysage avec la chute d’Icare