A story about anger, aggression and the desire for intimacy by a rising star of modern Dutch literature.
A professional boxer and a family man meet by chance on a journey to the Pamplona Bull Run. The boxer is fleeing an unhappy love. The father hopes to escape his dull routine. Both know that, eventually, they will have to return to the place each calls ‘home’.
Why Peirene chose to publish this book: ‘I adore the deceptive simplicity of this story. On the surface, the fast moving plot, the short sentences, the ordinary words make the text as straightforward as punches in a boxing match. But just as physical conflict stirs deep emotions, so too does this book as it focuses on a single question: how do you choose between flight and fight?’ Meike Ziervogel
‘An impressive work.’ Harry Ritchie, Daily Mail
‘As he tracks back and forth between the dual narratives, moving inexorably to the double climax, Van Mersbergen skilfully builds emotional intensity until the point when the boxer and bulls' fury are finally unleashed.’ Lucy Popescu, Independent on Sunday
‘An intriguing and intricate gem of a novel … Van Mersbergen’s tightly controlled prose skilfully conveys the overriding sense of repressed emotion and sheer physicality that drive a compelling and complex story.’ Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post
‘Flawlessly translated.’ Adrian Turpin, Financial Times
‘A refreshing change from the byzantine complexities of all too many contemporary novels.’ John Oakley, New Books Magazine
‘An intense reading experience … Van Mersbergen tells what needs to be told and not a word more.’ De Morgen