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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the International Booker Prize 2020

I asked God if he please couldn't take my brother, Matthies, instead of my rabbit. 'Amen.'

Ten-year-old Jas has a unique way of experiencing her universe: the feeling of udder ointment on her skin as protection against harsh winters; the texture of green warts, like capers, on migrating toads; the sound of 'blush words' that aren't in the Bible. But when a tragic accident ruptures the family, her curiosity warps into a vortex of increasingly disturbing fantasies - unlocking a darkness that threatens to derail them all.

A best-selling sensation in the Netherlands, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld's radical debut novel is studded with images of wild, violent beauty: a world of language unlike any other, exquisitely captured in Michele Hutchison's translation.

©2018, 2020 Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated by Michele Hutchison (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Discomfort of Evening

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not easy to forget. Like a kick in the stomach.

Well written. Reminds us how crude and banal human beings can be. And still feel and get sad and frightened. I will ponder this for a long time to come.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Funny and Uncomfortable

Narrated through the innocent voice of 10 year old Jos, "The Discomfort of Evening" by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld set on a Dutch farm, explore how a girl and her parents in a very religious community deals with the death of her younger brother on a skiing accident, life on a farm, poverty, poor digestion, and the pleasures of an awakening sexuality. The audiobook is both funny and uncomfortable. A very unusual story.

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  • A.J.F
  • 09-19-20

Incest alert!

There's no denying the brilliant writing in this novel and the presentation of symbolism using effective and simplistic imagery. Yes it's depressing like everyone says- but it manages to express the inexpressible masterfully. However, the abundance of child related sexual activity and incest is more than a little wearingz- it got so abundant that I almost gave up on the book- take alot of breaks or it'll make you queasy! The abuse and slaughter of the animals is also harrowing- so I don't think I can honestly say I enjoyed this book, but I did appreciate it's writing. The reader does a fantastic job aswell. If you embark on this keep yourself distanced from the subject matter- it really is deeply disturbing.

61 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Triona
  • 03-03-21

What a depressing book.

Really struggled with this book. Its so chillingly sad and one subject matter is worse than the next. I stopped listening with 2 hours left, it was too much doom, gloom, torture and depravity for me.

27 people found this helpful

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  • FreebieBean
  • 01-18-21

Not Recommend If You Are Feeling Fragile

This book is so well written and read so sympathetically (Genevieve Gaunt's narration was off the scale!) but it is NOT for the faint hearted.
It covers the implosion of a dysfunctional family following a tragic event, as told by a young girl called 'Jas' and her attempts to make sense and deal with all the awful things that happen to and around her.
It has taken me weeks to get through this book, as I had to keep taking a break from it, but didn't want to abandon it.
It was a terrible story, but totally believable and heart breaking.
It will stay with me for a long while, but I definitely feel the need of something very light to follow this dark tale.

20 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Waggy From Derby
  • 11-24-20

darker every chapter, cant listen any more

it's a depressing start when a brother dies and the narrator with in the story feels guilt, it's full of religious nonsense. it suicidal to keep on reading

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Parissa
  • 02-28-21

Discomfort sums it up

Initially, I found the viewpoint of this little girl surrounded by so much tragedy, endearingly quirky. However, without giving anything away, I very quickly started feeling uncomfortable and “discomfort” quickly became my general feeling about the book. I’ve given up two thirds through the book. The narrator can’t be faulted.

13 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-13-21

Abandoned it :(

Really struggled to finish this one, ended up abandoning it. A first for me, never felt that way about a book in all my life. Performance was good, its well written and from what I did listen to the story was good. I think it might have been the main character, something about her just didn't sit well with me and just didn't enjoy her or listening to her thought process. Found myself doing a few minutes and then turning it off. So it's not bad, it's just personal preference I guess.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Dr VLP
  • 05-24-21

Dark, disturbing and depressing

Oppressive, relentlessly miserable and featuring a large amount of disturbing juvenile sexual exploration, this book absolutely hits the spot at creating discomfort in the listener.
As a study of grief and guilt and a family falling apart it is a powerful piece of work, but it was just too unpleasant to listen to for me.
The voice adopted by the narrator to indicate the youth of the protagonist was extremely saccharine and grated on me nearly as much as the disturbing content of the novel.
Not a successful listen for me - simply too visceral and disturbing.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Steve m
  • 12-31-20

Dark and flowery

I didn't enjoy this book although it was read well it just seemed a bit disjointed and dealt with the dark subject matters in a way that I I found it difficult to relate to in any way.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Diana Devlin
  • 12-25-20

Disturbing read but not in a good way

Although there are many fresh and appealing descriptions and the readers are excellent, the focus on incest makes this a disturbing read, not in a good way

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter Trumper
  • 12-14-20

Discomfort is about right

I found this very disturbing. A very well evoked atmosphere of rigidity and childhood incomprehension. Was it over the top at times. I can't make my mind up

3 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 10-30-20

Toads, poo and other things

Not really my sort of thing but I feel sorry for this young woman brought up on a farm in the Netherlands! I used to think that being sent to boarding school in England in the 1960s was pretty bad but this sad pessimistic view of life mixing constipation with foot and mouth disease makes me feel lucky! I am extremely worried about the author and her bowel habit! A very depressing view of childhood! Discomfort is the right word!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Hector
  • 10-09-20

don't read

This book is so unnecessary. Don't know how it won the international booker prize a

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kristen Lyons
  • 09-12-20

Dull and disturbing

I’m sure it’s a story worth telling but for me not worth reading. Sad yet dull. Disturbing yet boring.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Wendy
  • 04-21-21

Why did this author win a prize!

This is the most depressing book I have ever listened to. It is sordid, sad, boring , and a complete waste of time. I am sure that there are other books worthy of such a prestigious prize. I very rarely comment on a book but I feel the need to deter others from wasting their money!


1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-06-20

Warning Required- incest and rape

Struggled to finish this one. I feel there should have been a warning regarding the subject matter. Incest between young siblings is something I found confronting and may be triggering for some listeners.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sally Cousens
  • 11-27-20

Wow what a story

Beautifully written and incredibly translated to preserve the beauty of the words and images. A sad tale of the damage adults can inflict on imaginative vulnerable children.

1 person found this helpful

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  • chet
  • 10-19-21

Masterful storytelling and prose

People seem unfairly up in arms in the other reviews here. Understand this isn't for the casual reader, but it is a very good book and worth reading. It will move and provoke, not cheaply or vacantly, but through masterful storytelling and prose.

The prose are so evocative and worth studying - it gets under your skin in a manner I've rarely experienced, which is equal part disturbing, hilarious and even tender.

It is also a very well told story, a rich character study and meditation on grief. It may feel lacking in structure or action to drive the narrative, but it all comes together very thoughtfully by the end.

If you are easily disturbed maybe it's not for you, otherwise it's definitely worth your time. Also the narration is perfect.