The Twin

By Gerbrand Bakker; David Colmer (Translator)
(Archipelago Books, Hardcover, 9780980033021, 343pp.)

Publication Date: April 2009

List Price: $25.00*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the April 2009 Indie Notables
“The loneliness and the wide-open interior spaces of a life half lived -- such is the thematic backdrop of this melancholy but engrossing Dutch novel about a farmer who has survived the death of his twin brother only, eventually, to realize that life does still hold something for him, something uncanny and new.”
-- Adam Walter, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA


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.

About the Author
Gerbrand Bakker (b. 1962) studied Dutch language and literature and worked as a subtitler for nature films before becoming a gardener. [The Twin], his first adult novel, appeared in Dutch in 2006 and was awarded the Golden Dog-Ear, a prize for the best-selling literary debut.

DAVID COLMER is an independent writer and translator. He translates Dutch literature in a wide range of genres. His nonfiction translations include Living Dangerously: A Biography of Joris Ivens and Formula One Fanatic.
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