Bakker-1
2014 Shortlist

The Detour

Translated from the original Dutch by David Colmer
artwork-image

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?

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 AUTHOR 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. It has been translated into 24 languages. In 2013 Bakker also won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (precursor of the International Booker) for The Detour. He then concentrated on non-fiction, but has now released his first novel in more than a decade. He is also a gardener.

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. It has been translated into 24 languages. In 2013 Bakker also won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (precursor of the International Booker) for The Detour. He then concentrated on non-fiction, but has now released his first novel in more than a decade. He is also a gardener.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR David
Colmer

David Colmer’s translations from the Dutch include works by Hugo Claus, Cees Nooteboom, Gerbrand Bakker and Annie M.G. Schmidt. His translations have won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2013 he won the Vondel Prize for his translation of Dimitri Verhulst’s The Misfortunates.

David Colmer’s translations from the Dutch include works by Hugo Claus, Cees Nooteboom, Gerbrand Bakker and Annie M.G. Schmidt. His translations have won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. In 2013 he won the Vondel Prize for his translation of Dimitri Verhulst’s The Misfortunates.

NOMINATING LIBRARY 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.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
07/03/2013
Country
Netherlands
Original Language
Dutch
Publisher
Harvill Secker
Translator
David Colmer
Translation
Translated from the original Dutch by David Colmer

RELATED FEATURES

News January 16 2024

2024 Dublin Literary Award Longlist Revealed

With books nominated by 80 libraries from 35 countries, 4 novels by Irish authors are in the running for the €100,000 prize sponsored by Dublin City Council
News November 28 2023

2024 Dublin Literary Award Judges Announced

Meet our judging panel for 2024 Dublin Literary Award
Video June 2 2023

Highlights from the 2023 Dublin Literary Award Ceremony

Katja Oskamp and translator Jo Heinrich win the prize for Marzahn, Mon Amour.
Video May 26 2023

2023 Award Winners in Conversation with Rick O’Shea

Author, Katja Oskamp and translator, Jo Heinrich in conversation.

STAY CONNECTED

Stay in touch and sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates on the Dublin Literary Award.