The Detour

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Scribe Publications Pty Limited, Feb 22, 2012 - Fiction - 240 pages
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‘He had never seen her like that before. Awesomely beautiful, like a tree or bush that produces as much blossom or as many flowers as possible the year before it dies.’

A woman abandons her home in Holland without a word, leaving behind an impervious husband, mystified parents, and an unfinished thesis on reclusive poet Emily Dickinson. Across the sea in Britain, she arrives at an isolated cottage in the shadow of a mountain. She settles there, alone in the ancient landscape, her only contact coming from animals she encounters, a handful of wary locals, and her poetry books. But what is she fleeing? And will her new home provide redemption, or lead her further into darkness?

On a foggy afternoon, her solitude is shattered when an elusive young man jumps over her fence. Perhaps his vitality can deter the shadows, but in this uncanny place the line between kindness and betrayal is never clear.

Meanwhile, the woman’s husband is coming, and time is running out. Haunting and suspenseful, The Detour explores both the weakness and the commanding power of the flesh. In the clear-eyed, uncompromising prose that we have come to expect from the award-winning Bakker, it asks: when our lives go awry, which route do we take?

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About the author (2012)

Gerbrand Bakker was born in 1962. He studied Dutch language and literature and worked as a subtitler for nature films before becoming a gardener. Bakker won the 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his novel _The Twin_ (Scribe, 2008) and the 2013 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for his novel _The Detour_ (Scribe, 2012).

David Colmer was born in Adelaide in 1960. Since moving to Amsterdam in the early 1990s, he has published a wide range of translations of Dutch literature. He is also a published author of fiction, and in 2009 was awarded the biennial NSW Premier’s Translation Prize.

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