The Twin and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Twin Hardcover – 1 May 2008


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£180.24 £0.01



Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker; 1st Edition edition (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846551374
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846551376
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2.7 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,345,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

'...a quiet book, humble in tone, with a fine, self-deprecating humour... It leaves the reader touched' -- Times Literary Supplement

'An unusual, memorable novel... Loneliness, combined with the beauty of the landscape, creates an atmosphere of inchoate yearning' -- Guardian

'Intelligent debut... Wonderful stuff from a Dutch writer with a feel for believable characters and a flair for what should be said and what needs only to be hinted'
-- Irish Times Books of the Year

'It could so easily be a bleak tale of regret but Bakker's spartan prose eloquently conveys... humour' -- FT

Stealthy, seductive story-telling that draws you into a world of silent rage and quite unexpected relationships. Compelling and convincing from beginning to end.
-- Tim Parks

Book Description

'Intelligent debut... Wonderful stuff from a Dutch writer with a feel for believable characters and a flair for what should be said and what needs only to be hinted'

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Oct 2010
Format: Paperback
Helmer runs his farm situated in the Dutch Platteland while also caring for his dying father. Now in his sixties Helmer, lost his twin brother when they were in their teens, his brother being his father's favoured son and the one destined to take on the farm. Helmer sought an academic future, but at the loss of his brother his father gave him no choice but to take on the farm.

Helmer relates the time spent caring for his distant father and the farm, his association with his neighbours and their two young boys, the period he takes on a young lad to help around the farm ,and as he looks back to his friendship with a young farmhand in his father employ. We follow Helmer as he moves from being a man who had no choice to approaching the possibility of being his own master.

The Twin is a beautiful story about a basically lonely man. There are no great dramas here, no cliff-hangers, with perhaps the exception of one brief episode, it is simply a gentle yet captivating tale; a most enjoyable read.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By bagoas on 27 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback
There may be some spoilers ahead!

The book addresses several themes: aging and loneliness, heartache and complexity of relationships within families, especially that thing so special that is the relationship between brothers, who in this case are twins, and one of them died young. In addition, the book is set in a rural environment, and dedicates an almost obsessive attention to tasks and their timing, and the rhythm of the work of a cattle farm, and is unsparing in remarks on bikes, ice skating, canoeing, and fauna and flora in general.

Helmer, the surviving twin, is in his fifties, lives a difficult relationship, made of a lot of remorse and revenge, with his dying father. Many moments of this relationship disturbed me a lot, either by the situation of a child having to take care of his father who is in the process of accelerated degradation, or because it has a very large dose of cruelty and I could never stop relating to what I am currently living in terms of family status.

The only company Helmer has are a neighbor and her two sons, still infants, who help him in some of the farm work, namely in taking care of the pair of donkeys that Helmer, against the will of his father, bought to the farm.

One day Helmer got the visit of Riet, the ex-girlfriend of his dead twin brother, that had been expelled from home by the brothers' father, who blamed her of this untimely death. As a result of her visit, the son of Riet, a troubled 17 year old that has the same name of his dead brother, spend a few months to live with Helmer on the farm as an assistant, and the relationship between them is anything but simple.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jan on 20 Aug 2012
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for an action packed thriller, this is definitely not the book for you. This is a subtle story about family ties, loneliness, grief and, ultimately, hope. It is a joy to read and it is far from being depressing and gloomy as there is humour woven into the story throughout.

Helmer and his twin brother Henk were inseparable as children, but Henk was killed when the boys were in their teens and Helmer's life changed. He had never wanted to take over the family farm, but following Henk's death he is forced to give up his studies and devote his life to farming. This was to have been Henk's role in life. As the book starts, Helmer is middle-aged and his father is old and slowly dying. Helmer moves him to an upstairs room and starts to make changes in the rest of the house. A neighbour and her small boys call in from time to time, but mostly Helmer is alone with his father, his memories and the animals. The landscape is bleak, beautiful and unforgiving. Little changes. Then quite suddenly a new Henk appears in his life and long buried memories come to the surface.

I loved the quality of the prose, and so some credit must go the translator as well as the author. I loved the descriptions of the details of Helmer's daily life and his surroundings and I particularly liked the way the story evolved. We don't get the back story in one great lump, it is revealed to us bit by bit as we move through the book. Our opinion of Helmer gradually changes as we learn more about him and his relationships with his father and brother. This is great writing and a memorable story.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Anastasia Brown on 19 Oct 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the most extraordinary book. Laconic, well-paced, with the strongest sense of place and atmosphere. It seems at first like a study of quiet hatred between two members of a family trapped by a shocking bereavement and the relentless commitment that is the farming life. But as this entirely credible and almost gentle story unfolds, we see the brilliance of the author's ability to depict psychological change. Gerbrand Bakker has perfect pitch as a writer. In the famous old reader's words, 'I could not put it down'. I think it is a flawless piece of work - certainly the best novel I have read this year - by far.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What should have been. Helmer and Henk. The twins. But Henk has been dead for thirty years, Helmer is alone and their father is bedridden and dying upstairs. Helmer is alive, he’s in control of everything – the farm, the house, his father – everything except his life. Then Riet, Henk’s ex-fianceé, asks if her son might stay awhile.
The prose, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer, is precise and sparse. It’s apt, reflecting a novel of frustrations and could-have-beens. The setting, in the rural Netherlands countryside is depicted with similar accuracy and cool observation. The weight of the past and the unrealised future lie over this book like low cloud.
But wait!
Firstly, it is not depressing, more thoughtful and considered. Reminded me frequently of the paintings by Dutch masters – how much can be evoked by an apparently simply rendered scene. Secondly, an atmosphere of place permeates the mood of the book.
As well as the location, the passage of time influences the ambience. Seasons, routines, life and death, cycles and ticking clocks all play a role, but whether tragic or comic is up to interpretation.
There is dry humour, achingly lovely description and a deft touch any writer could learn from, not to mention the use of symbolism and metaphor. The ending is a surprise and challenges the reader’s conviction that nothing can change.

I looked up the Dutch title and it seems to say 'Above is Stillness'. I find this a far better title – ambiguous, reflective and not what it first appears.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback