de Loo, Tessa "The Twins" (Dutch: De Tweeling) - 1993
Tessa de Loo is a highly acclaimed writer in the Netherlands (though she lives in Switzerland). This book is remarkable.
Twin sisters are separated after the death of their parents, one goes to a farmer in Germany, the other one is taken in by Dutch relatives. Now they have to lead their separate lives as their countries enter into war from two opposing sides.
The author doesn't just write about something she didn't experience herself (she was born in 1947), she also tries to understand both sides, she doesn't just see the Dutch as the victims but also understands the problems the Germans had. A very touching story, as the twins get separated in childhood and just by chance end up in the two different countries. That way, de Loo suggests that most people did not really have a chance as to which way they turned during the war.
Has anybody read this book? It's exciting, it's informative, it's great.
We discussed this in our book club in December 2004.
From the back cover: "Twins who were orphaned at six and sent to live with different relatives on opposite sides of WW II are reunited by chance seventy years later at a Belgian health resort. This international bestseller, a powerful novel, is both a European allegory and a poignant story of family ties."