The Bells of Bruges is a study of obsessive love which is steeped in the melancholy beauty of Bruges.
There are three loves in the life of Joris Borluut, the town carillonneur of Bruges. He marries the fiery Barbara, whose dark beauty is a reminder of Belgium"s Spanish heritage. Repelled by her harshness and violence, he starts an affair with her sister, the gentle, soulful, fair-haired Godelieve. When her sister discovers their affair, Godelieve enters a Beguine convent and Joris devotes himself to his first love, the old city of Bruges.
His opposition to a proposal to sacrifice part of the old town to economic advance loses him his position as town architect, and he withdraws to the belfry and his beloved carillon that seems for him to express the soul of Bruges.
"The confusion and obsession of love is thoroughly explored through the character of Joris Borlut, a man juggling three love affairs. Rodenbach offers an intriguing storyline, which is heavy in places but in all a fascinating tale. Descriptively written with an extremely detailed account of Bruges.
Abi Salter in The Big Issue