The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker

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...its rhythms. Its prose, its unspooling, somehow mimics nature itself, in which the most incremental changes accrete to the progression of life.
-NPR

Synopsis

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?

The Twin 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.
 

About Gerbrand Bakker

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DAVID COLMER is the translator of Bakker's novel The Twin.GERBRAND BAKKER won the 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his first novel, The Twin. An avid gardener, he lives in Holland.
 
Published September 4, 2008 by Vintage Digital. 345 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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NPR

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Reviewed by Amy Waldman on Oct 24 2011

...its rhythms. Its prose, its unspooling, somehow mimics nature itself, in which the most incremental changes accrete to the progression of life.

Read Full Review of The Twin | See more reviews from NPR

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