The twin (dutch title it is quiet) by Gerbrand Bakker

The detour by Gerbrand Bakker

Dutch fiction

Translator – David Colmer

Source – Library

This was Bakker’s début novel ,he has written piece for magazines and is a fully qualified gardener ,writes for the green Amsterdam ,the twin was he debut novel ,in his native Netherlands he has also a collection of stories from his blog and newspaper stories ,also a second novel june .This his debut is set in Platteland of north Netherlands an area of mainly farming and sparsely populated we join Helmer a farmer in his fifties with his father upstairs knocking on death’s door ,Helmer starts to wonder about his life ,his departed twin brother Henk and his future whilst still running the families small farm we find what made him stay and his brother leave the farm and how he settle in the community and made friend with visitors to the farm yet has always felt tied to the family farm whilst his brother had the chance to escape their family life .

Mother was an outrageously ugly woman .Someone who who hadn’t known her would probably consider the photo on the mantlepiece laughable : bony , pop-eyed farmer’s wife with thrice yearly hair does her best to assume a dignified pose .I don’t laugh at the photo she’s my mother .

Helmer describes his mother .

Bakker has written a wonderful tale of families lost dreams ,but also hope Helmer is a man who has lost a life but may have a chance to live .The scenery is wonderfully described you get the feeling of isolation and strangeness of platteland ,a bit like Norfolk or southern Scotland a place with isolated farming communities that have people who are almost caught out of time at times like Helmer is he seems a character from an earlier ages someone out of sync with the modern world but wants to live in it more than he had done .Bakker use;s certain items well the Opel Kaddet is like the means of escape from home at time and the Bosman windmill is like a giant winder dragging him back to the farm ,you get to see this world so well .The book has just won the Impac award in Dublin ,it also been shortlisted for the best translated book award from three percent .the book has been translated by David Colmer .


A dutch cow ,the setting is farming the are in the story a lot and like a brown cow story is very pretty .

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 21:24:54

    This sounds like a good read. I have made note of it. Thanks.


  2. amymckie
    Jun 22, 2010 @ 11:26:13

    This sounds like an interesting book. I haven’t read many books by Dutch writers so this might be a good place to start.


    • winstonsdad
      Jun 22, 2010 @ 15:40:55

      yes seems a good one amy ,jonke is good to and just reading another Dutch writer at moment ,all the best stu


  3. Iris
    Jun 23, 2010 @ 09:12:55

    Okay, another embarrassing moment: I haven’t read this book, I’d like to though.

    I love the picture of the cow, very fitting 😉


    • winstonsdad
      Jun 23, 2010 @ 09:49:09

      thats ok Iris you have loads of dutch writers to choose from we don’t have that many here ,all the best


  4. Trackback: The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker | Page247
  5. Trackback: An ode to the flat and bleak Dutch countryside. « The Hieroglyphic Streets
  6. Trackback: Gerbrand Bakker interview | Winstonsdad's Blog
  7. Trackback: Read Along: The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker | Iris on Books

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June 2010


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