“A chilling story of the past’s influence on the present” – ‘The Twin’ by Gerbrand Bakker
A chilling story of the past’s influence on the present.
Gerbrand Bakker, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer
Archipelago: 250 pp., $25
The story is eerily familiar, whether you are rural or urban, male or female, happy or unhappy. Twin brothers grow up on the family farm with their domineering, harsh father and their quiet, subservient mother
One is the father’s favorite, destined to inherit the farm. When he dies in a car accident, the other brother is left to run it, care for his dying father — and narrate the story.
All his life he feels like half of a person, going through his daily routine, not knowing how it was that he got here but aware that his life is slipping away, habit by habit.
One day, many years later, he gets a letter from his dead brother’s fiancée, who was responsible for the accident. She wants to send her disaffected 18-year-old son to live with him and work on the farm.
In the course of the novel, the still subconscious of the twin left behind is revealed to us, memory by memory. As these memories slash the surface of his life, they cannot help but erode his calloused exterior.
Gerbrand Bakker’s writing is fabulously clear, so clear that each sentence leaves a rippling wake.