A prize-winning, best-selling, novel in the vein of Graham Swift's Waterland
: captivating family drama with universal appeal
When his twin brother dies in a car accident, Helmer is obliged to return to the small family farm. He resigns himself to taking over his brother’s role and spending the rest of his days ‘with his head under a cow’.
After his old, worn-out father has been transferred upstairs, Helmer sets about furnishing the rest of the house according to his own minimal preferences. ‘A double bed and a duvet’, advises Ada, who lives next door, with a sly look. Then Riet appears, the woman once engaged to marry his twin. Could Riet and her son live with him for a while, on the farm?
is an ode to the platteland
, the flat and bleak Dutch countryside with its ditches and its cows and its endless grey skies.
Ostensibly a novel about the countryside, as seen through the eyes of a farmer, The Twin
is, in the end, about the possibility or impossibility of taking life into one’s own hands. It chronicles a way of life which has resisted modernity, is culturally apart, and yet riven with a kind of romantic longing.
Gerbrand Bakker worked as a subtitler for nature films before becoming a gardener. The Twin
is his prize-winning debut novel and will shortly be made into a film.
[An] unusual, memorable novel… Loneliness, combined with the beauty of the landscape, creates an atmosphere of inchoate yearning,This is a quiet book, humble in tone, with a fine, self-deprecating humour... It leaves the reader touched and with the impression of having seen and smelled the ever-damp Dutch platteland
,Bakker’s outstanding debut novel, set in the Dutch countryside, is one of those rare works of fiction that everyone should read,The pages are infused with the sights and sounds of the Dutch land. You can almost smell the donkeys and wet lambs that he portrays in his sparse, simple language,It could so easily be a bleak tale of regret but Bakker’s spartan prose eloquently conveys humour,Intensely moving and compelling,Stealthy, seductive story-telling that draws you into a world of silent rage and quite unexpected relationships. Compelling and convincing from beginning to end.,After finishing The Twin
, all the reader can say is: here is a true writer,Bakker captures the feel of life in the Dutch countryside in a style which is both dazzling and subdued. He has produced a poignant story, recounted in a tone at once spare and loving,Bakker is above all a gifted stylist,Intelligent debut… Wonderful stuff from a Dutch writer with a feel for believable characters and a flair for what should be said and what needs only to be hinted