Publication Date: July 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
Winner of the 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
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.
"After finishing 'The Twin,' all the reader can say is: here is a true writer."
"The charm of Bakker’s book is how finely every element is balanced, how perfectly the story is paced. Bakker shows a fine gift for laconic comedy. The great pleasure of this novel is how it has just enough plot to allow us to relish its beautifully turned observations of birds and beasts, weather and water."
Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books
"Tense with unuttered yearning The greatness of this book lies in a mounting intricacy of feeling as life begins to burgeon out of a stony, wasted existence. But instead of something terrible happening rillets of sweetness and joy arise, little springs of gladness. In the end this becomes a kindhearted book, kind to both characters and reader."
Katherine A. Powers, The Boston Globe
The novel has all the careful observation and and delicate shading of a painting by one of the Dutch masters - Bakker sees beauty and complexity in the smallest corners of everyday life and portrays them with a quiet mastery that gives his story both great weight and great lightness."
The Quarterly Conversation
"Gerbrand Bakker's writing is fabulously clear, so clear that each sentence leaves a rippling wake."
-Susan Reynolds, The Los Angeles Times
"Stealthy seductive story-telling that draws you into a world of silent rage and quite unexpected relationships. Compelling and convincing from beginning to end."
"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."
Times Literary Supplement
"Bakker is above all a gifted stylist. His dialogue is exemplary, and the descriptions of nature have a natural charm worthy of Nescio. It is a long time since we’ve taken such pleasure in a genuinely Dutch novel."
"This is a novel of great brilliance and subtlety. It contains scenes of enveloping psychological force but is open-ended, its extraordinary last section suggesting that fulfilment of long-standing aspirations can arrive, unanticipated, in late middle-age. 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."
"Bakker has a gift for investing daily rituals and landscape with the universal questions around identity and self worth. Helmer’s transformation affirms that it is never too late to take responsibility for one’s destiny. This is a beautifully written book - its lustre lies in the clear simplicity of language as well as the authenticity of Helmer’s internal dialogue."
Ruth Wildgust, The Sunday Business Post (Ireland)
"Bakker captures the feel of life in the Dutch countryside in a style which is both dazzling and subdued. a poignant story, recounted in a tone at once spare and loving."
"A novel of restrained tenderness and laconic humor."