Ellie Hodesdon Hodesdon itibaren Zendek, Polonya
Life's truly crappy for Dimitri. His mother hates him, so he lives with his dad and uncles at the grandmother's house. Except for his dad, not one of them has a job, and except for his grandmother, all are proud alcoholics. If you're one of the Verhulsts, all innkeepers know you by name, and unfortunately, so do all the police officers and bailiffs. If you're born into this family, your career path becomes fairly obvious when you're about an hour old and your father rides with you to every filthy rundown joint in Buttcrack, Flanders, your home. It's disheartening. There's not much in the way of education, and your family has only one thing to teach you - how to successfully ruin yourself. Yeah, it's pretty bad, but then, not all bad. Being one of the Verhulsts also means that your (paternal) family will stick up for each other, come what may, and it's never boring. Whether it's competitive drinking, naked bike riding, or watching Roy Orbison's concert with your new best Iranian friends, after the bailiff took your TV, there's always something going on. It's entertaining. Verhulst tells his (autobiographical) anecdotes with a measured laconism and such dry wit, it makes you look for something to drink. There is a sense of a strange nostalgia for a life that is so far removed from the grown-up Dimitri, and an appreciation for the exuberant flowers that can grow on a dung heap. It's bittersweet.