Gerbrand Bakker, The Twin, Translated front he Dutch by David Colmer (New York: Archipelago Books, 2010).
Somewhere along the line I read a review of this book, and either I misunderstood the review or I didn’t remember it. The book simply was not what I expected. It is a well-written and interesting novel. It is one that I might recommend to others. But the story is just a little bit strange. The way that the main character treats his father is mean, sometimes cruel. Not that a novel has to have kind characters to be meaningful, but this character is both appealing and appalling.
The story is the journey of a twin told from the perspective of his middle age. His father is nearing the end of his life. His brother was killed years ago in an accident. His mother has died. The girlfriend of his brother has returned into his life and he takes on the care of her son for a while. There are hints about his sexuality, but no overt stories. By the end of the book, the reader reaches the conclusion that is he likely gay, but that is hardly the theme of the book.
Bakker is a masterful story teller and the characters haunt. I can see why it won the international Impac Dublin Literary Award. The book sticks with you long after you have finished reading.