My Heavenly Favorite: A Novel (Hardcover)

My Heavenly Favorite: A Novel By Lucas Rijneveld Cover Image
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A harrowing, unforgettable masterpiece by the winner of the Booker International Prize

A confession, a lament, a mad gush of grief and obsession, My Heavenly Favorite is the remarkable and chilling successor to Lucas Rijneveld’s international sensation, The Discomfort of Evening. It tells the story of a veterinarian who visits a farm in the Dutch countryside where he becomes enraptured by his “Favorite”—the farmer’s daughter. She hovers on the precipice of adolescence, and longs to have a boy’s body. The veterinarian seems to be a tantalizing possible path out from the constrictions of her conservative rural life.

Narrated after the veterinarian has been punished for his crimes, Rijneveld’s audacious, profane novel is powered by the paradoxical beauty of its prose, which holds the reader fast to the page. Rijneveld refracts the contours of the Lolita story with a kind of perverse glee, taking the reader into otherwise unimaginable spaces full of pop lyrics, horror novels, the Favorite’s fantasized conversations with Freud and Hitler, and her dreams of flight and destruction and transcendence.

An unflinching depiction of abjection and a pointed excavation of taboos and social norms, My Heavenly Favorite establishes Rijneveld as one of the most daring and brilliant writers on the world stage.

About the Author

Lucas Rijneveld grew up in a Reformed farming family in North Brabant before moving to Utrecht. He is the author of The Discomfort of Evening, which was the first Dutch book to win the International Booker Prize, as well as three poetry collections.

Michele Hutchison is a literary translator from Dutch and French into English. She is the winner of the Vondel Translation Prize for her translation of Stage Four by Sander Kollaard and the International Booker Prize together with Marieke Lucas Rijneveld for The Discomfort of Evening.

Praise For…

“The style is fevered . . . exploring many of the same themes that drove Rijneveld’s first book: bucolic life, taboos, and abjection, among others.”—Dilara O’Neil, Vulture's “23 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2024”

“Lucas Rijneveld’s My Heavenly Favorite is a novel of exquisite discomfort and delicious poetry. Rijneveld writes with peerless moral courage and a sheer delight in the abject that we must each face in ourselves. This book unsettled me even as it made me laugh and gasp. I’m in awe.”—Brandon Taylor

“Here lies writing that is rejuvenating, glorious, brilliant. A book about obsession with prose that obsessed me from the first line. How lucky we are to be the readers of Lucas Rijneveld’s work.”—Daisy Johnson

“Daring, immediate, and insistent, My Heavenly Favorite summons a profound imagining of abuse and its ramifications. This is fiction that balances darkness and purity, deceit and reality, depravity and lyricism. Rijneveld’s control of his vision is startling. A quaking, visceral novel that demands the reader look wickedness in the eye—not for shock alone, but to provoke a genuine examination of what it is to harm and transgress.”—Rebecca Watson

“You feel borne along by the flow of language, the language of flow, knowing you’re supposed to feel like this seamless stream, which suddenly you’re drinking, goes down too easy—and ‘you,’ referring most often to the favorite but also to the judging reader, are the narrator’s primary addressee.”—Katie Kadue, Bookforum

“It’s been a long time since a book has destroyed me like My Heavenly Favorite. Lucas Rijneveld’s genius for minute attention to the granular detail of pain, desire, fantasy, and transgression doesn’t allow for any comfortable distance between reader and protagonist. You’re right there in it. And in Michel Hutchison’s electrifying translation it is genuinely disturbing. Rijneveld is one of the boldest writers alive today.”—Max Porter

“Despite the dark subject matter, the novel’s unrelenting pace and single-paragraph structure entrance. This striking chronicle of delusion is hard to shake.”Publishers Weekly

“[Rijneveld] delivers the veterinarian’s meandering soliloquy in the style of a Beat poem, with hypnotic effect, via page-long sentences and chapter-length paragraphs. Replete with references to pop culture, rock music, and current events, the fantastical account is grounded in real possibility, making it all the more menacing.” Kirkus Reviews

My Heavenly Favorite is as much a display of Rijneveld’s ferocious linguistic prowess as it is an unflinching portrayal of abuse. A wonder of art, it’s brutal to read. . . . These things are difficult to take in, and Rijneveld is not interested in making them easy. If at times we might prefer to stop reading, the fevered pitch and majesty of his sentences propel us forward, determined to lead us to the end.”—Megan Milks, 4Columns

“[Hutchison's] translation, told in torrential, run-on sentences, is a towering achievement.” —Cory Oldweiler, On the Seawall

“A tour de force of transgressive imagination—a dazzling addition to the oeuvre of an author of prodigious gifts.” —Sandra Newman, The Guardian (UK)

An extraordinary literary achievement. . . . Graphic, unsettling and brilliantly written.” —The Telegraph (UK)

“The audaciousness of My Heavenly Favorite lies instead in [Rijneveld's] willingness to linger inside the mind of a monster. It’s a decision that will inevitably alienate some readers, but those who stay the course will find themselves rewarded with mesmerising prose, close to transcendent in its earthiness. . . . [My Heavenly Favorite] confirms Rijneveld’s singular, deeply discomforting talent.”—Financial Times (UK)

Product Details
ISBN: 9781644452738
ISBN-10: 1644452731
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English