Esther Gerritsen


A tragicomic novella about a woman who doesn’t know what to do about her amputee brother—or about herself, for that matter

Esther Gerritsen is known for leavening her psychological dramas with wit and realistic dialogue. Brother is vintage Gerritsen, a short, accessible, gripping novella, ending on a positive note. It was the 2016 Dutch Book Week Gift selection with a printing of close to 650,000 copies.

“Her brother rang her just before his leg was to be amputated. She had not spoken with him for a year.” The phone call from her brother Marcus knocks the emotion- ally repressed career woman Olivia for a loop. Even though she blames her brother for having done such a poor job of manag- ing his diabetes, the news causes her to bolt from an important shareholders meeting.

Olivia leads a tightly-controlled life, and as financial director of Kyvon Serviezen, she is trying to keep the company from bankruptcy. She has two sons with her husband Gerard, who shares her “dislike of sentimentality and complaining. Too much fretting was best cured with a game of tennis. She often played tennis.” She decides to have the inconsolable Marcus come live with them while he recuperates.

But her brother’s arrival turns Olivia’s placid little life upside down. Her sons have a great time with their uncle Marcus, and are sorry their mother never joins in the fun. Her husband suddenly announces their marriage is in trouble, and her company appears to be unsalvageable. After meeting Marcus, the company founder, Mr Kyvon, thinks Marcus can be a big help in putting the loss of the firm into perspective.

Her brother’s leg may have been cut off, but it’s Olivia who feels cut off from both her family and her work. It begins to dawn on her that everyone else seems to get along with her brother except her. As the story ends, watching her husband and sons fishing alongside Marcus and Mr Kyvon, she realizes she’s watching a great happiness, one that does not include her. Fortunately, all she has to do is walk over and join them.

Brother is a masterful story about the power of family ties, loss, and letting go.

The amputation-story genre has gained a fine new example.

NRC Handelsblad

Lively, amusing, and riveting— a typical “Gerritsen”, with a great many scintillating sentences and sharp observations.


Esther Gerritsen

Since her 2000 debut with Bevoorrecht bewustzijn (Privileged Consciousness), Esther Gerritsen (b. 1972) has been considered one of the best authors in the Netherlands. In 2005 she was awarded the Dif/BGN prize for her second novel Normale dagen (Ordinary Days, 2005). Superduif (Superpigeon, 2010)…

lees meer


Broer (2016). Fiction, 94 pages.
Words: 22,000
Copies sold: 655,235


De Geus

Weteringschans 259
NL - 1017 XJ Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 760 72 17

[email protected]

lees meer

Literary agent

2 Seas Agency

1129 Maricopa Hwy, Suite 175
93023 Ojai, California
Tel: +1 805 633 0622
[email protected]

lees meer