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