THE BOY | BOOK REVIEW
Wytske Versteeg (HopeRoad Publishing)
Translated fiction has seen a rise in popularity during recent years and the latest offering from Dutch author Wytske Versteeg, The Boy is a feast to add to the translated fiction list.
The psychological thriller is centred around Kito, a teenager whose body has been found washed up on a beach following a school outing. Not prepared to accept it was accidental, his mother is determined to find out who is responsible which, leads her to believe the drama teacher, Hannah is involved. Her suspicions are confounded when she discovers that she has moved to the Bulgarian countryside, and so Kito’s mother follows her instinct and sets out on her quest for the truth.
True to the genre of the novel, the narrative is fast paced but also succeeds in keeping the reader guessing the outcome to the very end. Character driven, the difficult relationships and the emotional impact on the lives of Kito’s parents and the drama teacher is also well imagined. Vivid descriptions manage to set the scene within the different locations with particular attention to detail.
Translated novels can occasionally fail to capture the atmosphere that’s intended in the original language and, therefore, praise must go to translator Sarah Welling as the writing encapsulates the drama with the right pace and prose.
It’s not surprising to note that the novel has been widely recognised in its country of origin, awarded the BNG Bank Literature Prize and was also longlisted for the Libris Literature Prize. I was captivated by the emotive story and eager to discover the outcome and would definitely look to read more Dutch literature after this gem of a book.
words RHIANON HOLLEY
Price: £10.99. Info: www.hoperoadpublishing.com