Issue 18 (Fall/Winter 2014) of the erstwhile Subtropics features Bernard Quiriny’s story “A Neverending Bender,” the fourth story I’ve published from his multi-prizewinning 2008 collection Contes carnivores. Here’s an excerpt:
When my brother and I were children, Dad had a safe in his office where he hid his papers, money, and a revolver. The office was off-limits; John and I were not allowed to set foot inside. But one day, our games led us there. The safe was open, and I remember catching sight of a little bottle which, habitué that I was of falling off bikes, I took for astringent. (That very night, I gave myself away by telling my father that he should keep the bottle in the medicine cabinet, thus revealing that I’d disobeyed him.)
What did that bottle contain? In light of the manuscript we’ve just seen, I find it hard to believe it wasn’t zveck.
Belgian Bernard Quiriny (1978 – ) is the author of three short story collections: L’Angoisse de la première ligne (Phébus, 2005), which won the Prix Littéraire de la Vocation; Contes carnivores (Seuil, 2008), which won Prix du Style, the Prix Marcel Thiry for fabulism, and Belgium’s top literary prize, the Prix Rossel; and Une collection très particulière (Seuil, 2012), which won the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire. He has also written two novels: Les assoiffés (Seuil, 2010), a satirical dystopian alternate history of Belgium as a feminist totalitarian state, and most recently Le village évanoui (Flammarion, 2014), as well as a biography of symbolist poet Henri de Régnier, Monsieur Spleen (Seuil, 2013). His work has appeared in English in Subtropics, World Literature Today, The Coffin Factory, Weird Fiction Review, and Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2012.