Heart Fever by Bob Van Laerhoven

Five stories that shed a piercing light on our most self-destructive impulses.

Heart fever

After his much-acclaimed short story collection Dangerous Obsessions, which had war as a common background, Belgian/Flemish author Van Laerhoven surprises again with five stories that shed a piercing light on our most self-destructive impulses. A steroid-spiked Syrian mercenary of Bashar-al-Assad is determined to become a "martyr," after the loss of his right arm by "friendly fire." A retired London tube-driver becomes obsessed by his desire to revenge the vicious killing of his parents in Croatia on his half-nephew. A Belgian travel-writer gets entangled in the madness of the Kosovo-war during the nineties and witnesses its dramatic consequences many years later in New York. A jaded art brut painter in Brussels betrays his best friend, a Rwandan art forger, to the Mafia, opening the door to guilt, lust, and murder. A born liar with the nickname Johnny di Machio seeks in the seventies, in Poona, India, salvation in Bhagwan's ashram for his sexual problems, but gets trapped in a maze of long hidden violence.
Aldous Huxley wrote in Brave New World (1932): ""Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly ---- they''ll go through anything." This is precisely what Van Laerhoven does, relentlessly exposing our inner solitude and voracious egos. Heart Fever goes way beyond heartache.

Genre: FICTION / Short Stories (single author)

Secondary Genre: FICTION / Crime

Language: English

Keywords: mystery;suspense; literary, international; thriller; contemporary

Word Count: 37.166

Sales info:

"Heart Fever" is the second collection of short stories edited in January 2018 in the USA by The Anaphora Literary Press after the success of the collection "Dangerous Obsessions" (ALP, 2015).  "Dangerous Obsessions" has been translated in Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and Portuguese. "Heart Fever" won a "finalist" place in the Silver Falchion Award contest 2018 in the category "short stories collections". Van Laerhoven was the only non-American author to receive this recognition of quality. 

Sample text:

The Abomination

Roughly fifteen minutes to go before Al-Thar.

   After the agony and humiliation of these last weeks, a clear certainty rules my head; revenge is the only honorable way out of this situation.

   Barricaded here in this room, staring into the mirror I deliberately positioned in front of me, I address a mental message to my khaal Bashar al-Assad, ruler of Syria: ‘Stand tall, revered uncle of every Alawite, hold out your arms, extend your shabh until your shadow covers every Syrian citizen, commanding them to obey you or die.’’

   To the Westerners in this hospital and especially to the woman Quagebuur, I say, ‘Fuck you and may you rot in hell.’

    Allah ou akbar.




Ten minutes left, I figure.

   Outside Amman shimmers in the sun, its pastel skyscrapers and hungry noises filling the window. In this light and at this moment, it could be the portal to Akhirah, the afterlife.

   A pious part of me that came to life after the accident in Al-Houla whispers that I will be a true Muslim martyr.  



Book translation status:

The book is available for translation into any language except those listed below:

Already translated. Translated by Daniela Tannebaum
Author review:
Very skillful and thorough translation!
Already translated. Translated by Paolo Santini
Author review:
As usual with Paolo Santini: high-quality work from a great translator and communicator....
Already translated. Translated by Rafael Games
Author review:
"Heart Fever is not the easiest book to translate, but Rafael Games did it fluently and stylishly. Congratulations!
Already translated. Translated by Fabiola Amado

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