The Twin (Large Print 16pt)

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Overview

When his twin brother dies in a car accident, Helmer is obliged to return to the small family 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 ...
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The Twin

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Overview

When his twin brother dies in a car accident, Helmer is obliged to return to the small family 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 Twin' is an ode to the platteland, the flat and bleak Dutch countryside with its ditches and its cows and its endless grey skies. 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 which has resisted modernity, is culturally apart, and yet riven with a kind of romantic longing. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459608276
  • Publisher: ReadHowYouWant, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/6/2011
  • Pages: 394
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Identity Crisis

    "Everything is different when you have a coffin in your living room"



    These are the kinds of sentences that fill The Twin: subtle, understated and crackling. This beautifully written novel shines with its character depiction of Helmer, a man who has made no choices in his life other than selecting the chickens for the farm. His home, the larger farm animals, his furniture and even his work clothes were passed on: choices that belonged to others.

    However, the impending death of his father leads him to finally and uncomfortably assert his own will by moving the furniture, painting, and throwing out years worth of family relics. With this new and clean space, he finds that the things he can't get rid of become more prominent. The house's newly vacated space feels hollow, a reflection of the state of his heart and mind. He's aware of his emptiness, and it's illustrated when he buys a map to hang as "art" for his walls. The lack of anything attractive on the walls of his house makes the single picture lost and the emptiness all the more obvious. All he can do is look at the map and memorize the places he'd like to someday visit, an urge that seems impossible with all the burdens laid upon him since his teens.


    He spends his days managing the meager farm, tending carelessly to his father and reeling from the thirty year loss of his twin brother Henk. For a time he allows a wayward teen to help as a farmhand, bringing new dynamics to his empty space. The complexity of the novel isn't simply the missing twin, that sort of story has been written countless times before. Rather, the theme is based on identity of self, not in relation to anyone else (his father or brother) but in the form of his own destiny. He appears to make no strides towards the independence he aspires to, and the contrast between his thoughts and actions creates a tension that is sometimes funny and sometimes brutal. Self-determination is an entirely unknown concept to Helmer, and throughout the novel you question if he ever can achieve it. Some could read a geo-political message in this, but I'd rather leave that out and focus on the beautiful writing and the descriptions that make you pause: in reference to an old log, "even a dead thing can be beautiful."


    A symbolism that is repeated throughout the novel is of a solitary hooded crow that stalks Helmer through the windows and around the yard, silently glaring. Since crows generally represent sadness or death, I thought it was appropriate in many ways. Yet the way Bakker concludes the story, and accounts for the crow's presence, was still an unexpected surprise.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 29, 2012

    Interesting story

    This was a good book and the story moved along at a good pace. I definitely was into it, but not "can't put it down" into it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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