Every year in March all Dutch bookshops promote the industry. Whoever spends enough dosh in a bookshop receives a free short novel. This is usually written by some prominent author, it is a big honour to be asked to write the free book. And you know you’ll end up in thousands of homes, which is the best advertisement one can imagine.
Last years gift was written by Anna Enquist. Apart from being one of the best known female authors in the country, she became known when she lost her daughter to an accident with a lorry. The driver couldn’t see her, as she was on her bike in the dead angle. Since then Enquist has been known to lobby for dead angle mirrors to be obligated. A bit of trivia for you. Not completely irrelevant, as you start reading the book.
In the book a couple has a daughter who disappeared suddenly. About the same age as Enquist daughter was irl, only in the book it is unknown what has happened. And the strange relation the couple has, they do not talk about it. They just go on living their lives. She teaches and he gets a promotion in the hospital. They live completely separate lives, hardly understand each other anymore. One day the new gardener seems to know something about their daughter. He can’t say anything, but is willing to take money to her. And so he takes a lot of money, though she doesn’t know anything for sure. Next to that she doesn’t tell her husband. He wouldn’t have noticed anyway, as he is too busy reorganising the whole organisation.
She writes an interesting story in which everything goes wrong in the end, bad goes to worse, it all ends in tears. Enquist manages to keep the characters understandable and the story running. The story has potential for a follow up, for a real novel. At the moment the book is too short to really getting into it.