Insingel front cover of My Territory

My Territory by Mark Insingel

fiction, translated from the Dutch by Adrienne Dixon, paperback, 85 pages, ISBN 978-0-87376-049-2

Mark Insingel was born in Antwerp in 1935. His father was a house painter, his grandfather, who lived with his family, was a painter. After completing his primary schooling, he studied drama for a number of years before he began writing concrete poetry and fiction. Insingel won distinction as a concrete poet by participating in many international expositions, and in 1970 Insingel won the Prijs van de Vlaamse Gids for his book Perpetuum Mobile. Insingel describes his writing as a concrete literature by which he means his texts (stories and novels as well as poetry) in which the language has its own reality apart from the reality which it describes.

The discord between a man and his wife emerges from a minute description of a house and its surrounding land. Of this complex and invigorating novel the author declared, “My Territory is, after all, a linguistic one.”

If we should part, that is to say if all the rooms are emptied, how are we to divide the contents? Do we begin with everything the one cares for and not the other? Do we add up the value and will then begin, piece after piece, the weighing up, the disputation and deliberation? Must I go with a removal truck, most likely overloaded, to Italy and to Viviana? For the sake of a woman I must give up a life that leaves no questions and no wishes, a property, a house, an interior, a circle of acquaintances and friends, a privileged position in this hypocritical but obedient country, an equilibrium, at long last acquired, while Vera, and with Kim, moves in with Mon, where I shall probably pay no visits any more? Is choosing between women—a choice I try forever to avoid, try to postpone, try to conceal—a choice between possessions, between distant countries, between lives which mutually exclude each other?
from My Territory

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