Unostentatious charm... an instant classic
Emma Hagestadt, Independent
A book that truly breathes... It can break, haunt and stir you... Haasse has a fine, exact way with her story... Mesmerisingly lovely and then suddenly shocking; you have to react. After 60 or more years, and in a quite different world, it is still a wake-up call... Perfect
Michael Pye, Scotsman
Distinguished, composed with intense concentration, with a cruel heart-breaking climax and a brave, passionate coda... [It] demands several readings... Immaculately constructed
Paul Binding, Times Literary Supplement
From the Same Author
The Tea Lords
Hella S. Haasse, translated by Ina Rilke
Born into wealth and privilege, Rudolf Kerkhoven is destined to follow his father’s footsteps into the Dutch colonies, with its uncleared jungle foothills and potential for riches. When he arrives in Java he is immediately smitten by the landscape and the life, and over the seasons, Rudolf’s dedication and diligence gradually transform the land into a productive estate for tea, coffee and quinine. When he meets the independent-minded Jenny and their two sons are born, Rudolf is happier than he thought possible. But for Jenny, the damp austerity of their home, her fertility, her father’s secret, and the native spirits of the land grow to overshadow their marriage and the life they’ve strived for together.
Lusciously atmospheric and masterfully drawn, this is an unforgettable story of aspiration, determination, rivalry and romance on a tropical plantation.