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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing, memorable story, 20 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The Twin (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.
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