Named a “Best Adult Book for High School Students 2009” by School Library Journal!
"Gerbrand Bakker's writing is fabulously clear, so clear that each sentence leaves a rippling wake."—Los Angeles Times
“A novel of restrained tenderness and laconic humour.”—J.M. Coetzee
“Human dramas are offset by landscape and animals feelingly delineated, and David Colmer's translation is distinguished by an exceptional (and crucial) ear for dialogue.”—Paul Binding, The Independent
"Stealthy, seductive story-telling that draws you into a world of silent rage and quite unexpected relationships. Compelling and convincing from beginning to end."—Tim Parks
When his twin brother dies in a car accident, Helmer is obliged to return from university life to take over his brother’s role on the small family farm, resigning himself to spending the rest of his days with his head under a cow.
Thirty years later, Helmer moves his invalid father upstairs to have him out of the way. Soon after, Riet, once engaged to marry Helmer’s twin, appears and asks if she and her troubled eighteen-year-old son could come to live with them on the farm.
Ostensibly a novel about the canals, the green fields, and the unrelenting flatness of the Dutch countryside, The Twin ultimately opens itself to the possibility or impossibility of taking life into one’s own hands. It chronicles a way of life that has resisted modernity and is culturally apart, yet is riven with longing.
Gerbrand Bakker studied Dutch literature and worked subtitling nature films before becoming a gardener. The Twin, his first novel, appeared in Dutch in 2006 and was awarded the Golden Dog-Ear Prize for the best-selling literary debut in the Netherlands.
David Colmer is a writer and translator. He is a two-time winner of the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize.