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The Twin

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Product Description

Set in rural Holland, the novel is narrated by Helmer, a middle-aged farmer, who is stuck with caring for his ailing father.

When Henk's identical twin brother dies in a car accident, Helmer is obliged to return to the small family farm. In one fell swoop, Helmer has lost not only his beloved twin but also the life he had planned for himself, giving up university to return to help his father on the 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 gay aspect to the story is understated – the narrator’s taciturn nature extends to not giving much away about his desires – yet as the novel progresses more is revealed and a new opportunity.

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 that has resisted modernity, is culturally apart, and yet riven with a kind of romantic longing.

Paperback, 288 Pages, Published 2008

Author: Gerbrand Bakker

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