The Detour

A Dutch woman, who is a university English lecturer, rents a farm in remote, rural Wales, where she is carrying out research into the work of Emily Dickinson. She intends to demonstrate that some of Dickinson’s poems were not of the same high standard as her other work. When she arrives, there are ten geese living on the farm, but they disappear, one by one. Perhaps it’s the work of a local fox.

Gerbrand Bakker
Original title
De omweg

The reason for her move abroad gradually becomes clear: her husband is trying to track her down. Having confessed to an affair with one of her students in Amsterdam, she has quietly escaped to Wales. Her husband contacts the police and teams up with a detective to go and look for her. They board the ferry to Hull on Christmas Eve. However, in the meantime, the woman increasingly seems to be losing her grip on the situation.

The four novels that Gerbrand Bakker has written to date are about people who are searching for isolation, but are unable to detach themselves from the world around them. The question is also whether they entirely understand themselves – the writer merely shows what happens and leaves any conclusions to the reader. It’s all about what goes on between the lines – in Bakker’s previous novels, and now in De omweg too. With his fine style and gripping plot twists, this is a writer who ultimately grabs his readers by the throat.

If there’s one thing Bakker really understands, it’s how to depict real life, faltering, failing life.

de Volkskrant

A beautiful, oddly moving work of fiction, a quiet read that lingers long in the mind, like the ghosts that linger in our homes, and in the land around us.

The Guardian
Gerbrand Bakker
Gerbrand Bakker (b. 1962) is a novelist, diarist and columnist who broke through in 2006 with 'Boven is het stil' (The Twin), which won three prizes in his native Netherlands and another five abroad, most notably the Dublin Literary Award.
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