The Twin is a father and son story set in a quintessentially Dutch landscape. This novel chronicles a way of life which has remained resistant to modernity, culturally apart, and yet split apart with a kind of romantic longing. Bakker’s characters and his countryside are tangibly real, particularly in their quietness, the silent nature of farming life. The sense of place, the brooding atmosphere and the strong characters recall writers such as Graham Swift, Annie Proulx and Cormac McCarthy.
WINNER OF THE IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD 2010
In 2013 the movie based on The Twin is released.
‘Though rich in detail, it’s a sparely written story, with the narrator’s odd small cruelties, laconic humour and surprising tendernesses emerging through a steady, well-paced, unaffected style. The book convinces from first page to last. With quiet mastery the story draws in the reader. The writing is wonderful: restrained and clear, and studded with detail of farm rhythms in the cold, damp Dutch countryside. The author excels at dialogue, and Helmer’s inner story-telling voice also comes over perfectly as he begins to change everything around him. There are intriguing ambiguities, but no false notes. Nothing and no one is predictable, and yet we believe in them all: the regular tanker driver, the next door neighbour with her two bouncing children, and Jaap, the old farm labourer from the twins’ childhood who comes back to the farm in time for the last great upheaval, as Helmer finally takes charge of what is left of his own life.’ – IMPAC Award Jury