Nominated by:

Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Openbare Bibliotheek Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Stichting Bibliotheek.nl, The Hague, The Netherlands

The Public Library of The Hague, The Netherlands

Bibliotheek Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publisher of nominated edition:

Harvill Secker, UK

The Detour

Gerbrand Bakker      

Translated from the original Dutch by David Colmer

2014 Shortlist

Judges’ Comments

In The Detour, previous IMPAC winner Gerbrand Bakker delivers a moving, powerful tale about a mysterious woman who decamps from the Netherlands to north Wales. She rents an old cottage and starts doing up the garden and tending some geese, even though her tenancy will be for a short time. For a while, as her day-to-day life is described in oblique but crystalline language, we wonder why she is there, but slowly the awful truth starts to dawn. Meanwhile, various visitors or intruders disturb her lonely passion, including a lecherous farmer and an odd young man who becomes her lover. This is a quiet, but strangely dangerous book that creeps up on the reader, just as fate creeps up on its principal character. Once read, The Detour stays in the mind.

About the Book

A Dutch woman rents a remote farm in rural Wales. She says her name is Emilie. She is a lecturer doing some research, and sets about making the farmhouse more homely. When she arrives there are ten geese living in the garden but one by one they disappear. Perhaps it’s the work of a local fox.

She has fled from an unbearable situation having recently confessed to an affair with one of her students. In Amsterdam, her stunned husband forms a strange partnership with a detective who agrees to help him trace her. They board the ferry to Hull on Christmas Eve.

Back on the farm, a young man out walking with his dog injures himself and stays the night, then ends up staying longer. Yet something is deeply wrong. Does he know what he is getting himself into? And what will happen when her husband and the policeman arrive?

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Gerbrand Bakker worked as a subtitler for nature films before becoming a gardener. His debut novel The Twin won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and will soon be made into a film.

Librarian’s Comments

Gerbrand Bakker has made the territories of isolation, inner turmoil and the solace offered by the world his own. The Detour is a deeply moving novel, shot through with longing and the quiet tragedy of everyday lives.

Novel about a woman who is seriously ill. She lives in a desolate area in Wales and her husband tries to find her. Previous winner of the IMPAC Literary Award and a popular author in our country. All the copies of the Central Library are borrowed by our customers.

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