tessa de loo

Tessa de Loo

TESSA DE LOO made her debut in 1983 with GIRLS FROM THE CANDYFACTORY (MEISJES VAN DE SUIKERFABRIEK). She has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and various other magazines and anthologies. She lives in south Portugal and is one of the most successful writers in the Dutch language.



‘De Loo is and always will be an authentic born storyteller’ Algemeen Dagblad
Love in Pangea cover

Fidel Hulshoff loses his heart to an extraordinarily beautiful but rather eccentric class mate. He becomes embroiled in the web of lies that she has fabricated. He ends their relationship just before their school trip to Rome, where she commits suicide by jumping off a balcony in front of all her class mates. Fidel is devastated and left with feelings of guilt and the overwhelming question: ‘What was she going through?’ It’s only years later that he finds the answer. About first love, guilt and innocence, lies and betrayal, Tessa’s new novel has the power of her best work.

'Tessa de Loo has, for the first time in a long time, written a really stunning novel. With Liefde in Pangea she shows herself to be the page turning storyteller she was in her earliest novels....  Her fascinating moving story pulls the reader through all the dramatic events and you live them whole-heartedly.' **** Leidsch Dagblad (printed in many other papers)


De Arbeiderspers NL


Material: Finished copies of the Dutch edition (287pp); sample English translation



A GOOD NEST (een goed nest)
A Good Nest

Two sisters, late forties and early fifties, don’t get on. They see each other rarely. Their differences really come to the fore when Noor comes from Amsterdam to visit her older sister in the countryside with important news. It becomes a turbulent meeting: old feelings of jealousy and anger surface, old wounds are torn open, accusations fly. Then Noor finally tells the secret that could uproot their lives. Intense, powerful, insightful about human nature and sibling relations, this novel grips you from the first page. Simultaneously launched as a play in Amsterdam, starring Holland’s finest.


De Arbeiderspers NL

Adapted for stage for DeLaMar theatre Amsterdam

Material: Finished copies of Dutch edition (240pp)



Haarlem 1572. Driven by grief and hatred, following the execution of her youngest daughter, Kenau leads 300 women in a heroic struggle against the Spanish invader, the women fighting side by side with the soldiers. But because she hides her pain behind a mask of indifference she also runs the risk of losing her remaining daughter. A story of grief and loss, of love between a mother and a daughter, rivalry between sisters and the making of choices. A story about a woman, her rights and possibilities during the time of the Eighty Year War between the Dutch and the Spanish, a rarely documented era. A major film of the story came out in the Netherlands in early 2014 from Fu Works Productions, the team behind Black Book and most of the internationally successful Dutch films.

‘The historical fiction genre suits de Loo really well. You certainly don’t need a film in order to visualise the images de Loo creates. The lively narrative style makes it feel as if it all happened yesterday.’  **** NRC Handelsblad

‘Gripping and romantic’ Noordhollands Dagblad

‘The well thought out way in which the historical events are tied to the characters’ personal stories makes KENAU into an irresistibly thrilling book.’ Boek

‘In accessible and gripping prose Tessa de Loo brings the Eighty Years War to life’ Hollands Glorie

‘The author of THE TWINS again hits the spot with this new epic’ Linda

‘Gripping and true to life… KENAU is a beautiful, historical novel about vengeance, courage and love that demands you to read on. Stunningly clever.’ Zin

‘A thrilling page-turner about a courageous heroin’ Flow

‘The historical genre suits De Loo well...  she manages to maintain a fresh, lively tone.’ **** NRC Next



De Arbeiderspers NL


Edhasa Spain & Latin America


Film: Kenau, by Maarten Treurniet, Fu Works Production.

Awarded AUDIENCE CHOICE BEST FEATURE at The Stony Brook Film Festival, New York - celebrating the best in independent cinema


Material: Dutch edition (290pp). English sample chapters.

the twins (de tweeling)
The Twins



One of the Sunday Times '100 Best Books of the Year' and No1. in The Independent's 50 Best Books of the Summer 2005.


Born in Cologne in 1916, the twins are brusquely separated from each other after the death of their parents. Anna grows up with her grandfather, in a primitive farming and Catholic milieu on the edge of the Teutoburgwald in Germany. Lotte ends up in the Netherlands because of her TB, living with an uncle who harbours strong socialistic sympathies. A bad relationship between the families and the intervening war causes contact between the two sisters to cease.


When their paths cross again, the twins are elderly women; they meet by chance at the famous health resort of Spa. Lotte, who sheltered Jews in hiding during the war, is initially extremely suspicious of her new-found twin sister. But through Anna’s painful stories she is confronted with the other side of her own reality: the sufferings of ordinary Germans in wartime.


In this monumental novel, Tessa De Loo compellingly weaves the story of two twin sisters separated in childhood with that of two countries opposed in war, and depicts in simple yet harrowing prose the effects of nature and nurture on the individual.


'A truly great German - Dutch story' EMMA magazine Germany (New edition)

‘A flat-out masterpiece: exhilarating and unforgettable.’ Kirkus Review

'Gripping and touching... Tessa de Loo's powerful narrative filters Europe's grand events through a family story that tests 'the ties of blood' against the pull of passion and the blast of war.' The Independent

'Moving... de Loo doesn't seek to exonerate Germany but to tell the harrowing tale of war from two sides, to humanize history and add some ambiguity to the good-evil dichotomy.' Time Magazine

'…gripping, heartbreaking and humane… This is not new territory, yet De Loo’s treatment is completely original, creating a piece of fiction whose poise, compassion and breadth takes the reader’s breath away.' Sunday Times

'A huge success... a memorable and moving tale.' Sunday Telegraph

'Excellent... de Loo interleaves the twins' story with that of two countries locked in bloody conflict. A moving read about humanity's darkest hour.' Evening Standard

'Best-selling Dutch novelist Tessa de Loo's real achievement is to personalize this still unassimilated period of history.' Independent

'Details of time, place and atmosphere are acutely evoked, and the characters are presented with a generous sympathy that stops short of special pleading. Already a best-seller in the author’s native Holland, the book deserves to become one here.' The Times

'All-seeing, it is brimming with scenes that are moving and sometimes disturbing.' Der Spiegel

'De Loo engages the emotions of the reader for both her protagonists, involving us in their bickering and the catharsis they both crave. Her prose, beautifully translated from the Dutch by Ruth Levitt, raises unanswerable questions and explores complex ambiguities of identity and blood and choice. Sensitive, intelligent and wholly engaging, The Twins grapples with the human cost of war, whatever the side.' Sunday Herald

'… carefully constructed novel… De Loo’s characterizations do not degenerate into allegory, and ethical questions are not simplified for the reader’s comfort.' New York Times Book Review

'Previously published in Germany and Holland, The Twins has already sold over a million copies - a much deserved success for an outstanding novel.' Oxford Times

'De Loo’s considerable achievement is to not shirk awkward issues of guilt while treating her delicate subject matter with extraordinary compassion.' Observer

'A lucid novel with a compelling theme. You’ll read it in one go.' Trouw

'The lovely narrative style, the crazy details, the abundance of information all make this a compelling book. You can’t put it down.' Algemeen Dagblad

'A magnificent book. It reveals a kaleidoscope in which drama, comedy, farce and poetry combine to create a novel that must be read.' Die Woche





De Arbeiderspers NL


Diana Verlag Germany (previously Knaus and BTB)


Circulo do Lectores Spain and Latin America bookclub


Ediciones B Spain and Latin America


Kinneret Israel


Arcadia Books UK & USA (previously Soho Press USA)


Karisto Finland


Eroika Czech Republic


Alfa-Narodna Knjiga Serbia


Pracownia Stow Poland


Giunti Italy


Minerva Nova Hungary


Nippon Television Network Co. Japan


Laffont France


Skanderbeg Albania


Bazar Forlag Sweden and Norway


JPV Utgafa Iceland


Sandesh Bangladesh


Bertrand Editora Portugal


Kronta Lithuania


Text Russia


RAO Romania


Gema Greece


English Audio rights sold to Bolinda


Anhui Literature & Art China


Prunsoop Korea


Antolog Macedonia


Material: finished copies (408pp).



Don't Betray Me

One day thirteen year old Michiel, living in the picturesque Dutch countryside, finds himself near the hut that a group of older boys use as a meeting point. He sees that one of them is his older brother Wolf, who is fired up and drunk. Michiel watches in horror as his brother violently attacks a man, encouraged by the rest of the group. That same evening Wolf forces him to keep silent about what he saw. Brothers don't betray each other. But the victim ends up in a coma. What should Michiel do? What really is betrayal? In this incredibly tense and disturbing tale, Tessa de Loo pulls you effortlessly into the emotional world of a thirteen year old as, amongst fear and wonder, the boy discovers his conscience.

'What Wolf, Michiel's older brother, does one evening under the influence of alcohol is horrific. Michiel is really cut up about it, but Wolf asks him to keep quiet. Brothers don't betray each other do they? What does a thirteen year old do in such circumstances? That is the question in Tessa de Loo's fascinating novel DON'T BETRAY ME.' Margriet

'With her lastest novel Tessa de Loo has written a tense drama that takes place against a classic Dutch landscape: Life seems to pass by calmly and peacefully in a picturesque village on a river, until a group of youth commit a violent act out of pure boredom, with fatal consequences. A boy of thirteen, an unwilling witness to this event, flees in deep shock. His own brother is part of the group. That same evening his brother forces him to keep quiet about it, using the motto: brothers don't betray each other. In this thrilling and disturbing tale the reader is drawn effortlessly into the emotional world of a thirteen year old boy, who between angst and astonishment discovers he has a conscience.' Literair Nederland

'Sometimes you come across a book that grips you from the very first moment. DON'T BETRAY ME, the new novel by Tessa de Loo is such a book. A magnificent story.' Must Read (Moet Je Lezen)


De Arbeiderspers NL

Material: Dutch edition.



Book image

Based on the short novel ISABELLE by Tessa de Loo, the film ISABELLE, starring Halina Reijn, premiered in the Netherlands on 22nd September 2011. Produced and directed by the makers of the Oscar-nominated film THE TWIN SISTERS, based on Tessa’s novel THE TWINS, the motion picture ISABELLE previewed at the Dutch Film Festival.

In a mountainous region of France, the glamorous film actress Isabelle Amable suddenly disappears without trace.  Search parties find nothing and the case is soon abandoned. Only the village teacher Bernard Buffon won’t rest.  Isabelle has been kidnapped by local barmaid and painter Jeanne Bitor. Driven by a fierce jealousy of Isabelle’s stunning beauty and success, Jeanne decides to starve Isabelle and capture her demise in paint.  A tense psychological struggle between life and death ensues between the two women. But when a rapprochement takes place, are appearances all they seem?


‘This thriller is exciting from beginning to end. Tessa de Loo writes fluently and economically, managing to hook the reader completely.’ Journal für Literatur

‘What’s intriguing about De Loo’s novel is that after reading it you just cannot see those we call beautiful or ugly in the same way again’ Algemeen Dagblad


De Arbeiderspers NL

Film by IDTV

Material: Dutch edition, German translation (144pp).

in byron's footsteps

'When I read that letter my old love for Byron came flooding back. I decided to travel with him, on horseback, making the same journey – even if it was two centuries later. I wanted to get to know not just Byron but Albania too...'

An absorbing contemporary travel adventure, Tessa de Loo recounts her expedition following in the footsteps of the infamous Lord Byron’s tour of the now harried terrain of Albania in 1809. Enthralled by the image of Lord Byron as a teenage girl, she sets about exploring not only his physical journey, but attempts to understand his inner one as well. The source of inspiration for his poem, 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage', the trail of Byron sets out de Loo's path, where she, in the midst of her gruelling pilgrimage, herself undergoes something of a transformation.

'[One notes] the seriousness and humour with which De Loo laces her contribution to superior travel literature... She gives her report in the form of letters to Byron (My dear friend, My dearest George) alternated with chapters where she recounts Byron’s journey. However euphoric De Loo’s report is not too affected, it stays lively and informative.... A Pig in the Palace is a book of contrasts, surprises and disappointments, written cheerfully and with eye for details.' Vrij Nederland


De Arbeiderspers NL

Pracownia Stow Poland

Bertelsmann Verlag Germany

Skanderbeg Books Albania

Haus UK (WEL)

Material: English edition (185pp).

the book of doubt (HARLEKINO)

Even though he is the son of a Dutch mother Said has a Moroccan first name in memory of the virtuoso Oud player his mother fell in love with twenty years ago. When she found out she was pregnant, he ran off and returned to Morocco. Said decides to look for his father, in the hope of finding a new identity in a new world. His childhood friend Hassan accompanies him. They only have one starting point – a grocery shop in Fez. From there they follow the trail of the Oud player, who leads them from the cedar woods of Ifrane to the red dunes of the desert to the high Atlas, where Kasbahs are locked in a losing battle with decay. The two friends, who as children shared shared an imaginary land which they both ruled – try to rekindle their friendship.

Said’s search sends him deeper into disillusionment and into the arms of Islam, where he tries to find something to hold on to. But there is a disturbing presence. A seemingly fictitious character from their imaginary land infiltrates Said’s. While Said desperately tries to get rid of him, different aspects of his life, more and more beyond his control, reach an apotheosis resulting in one final deed affecting man and beast alike.

‘Tessa de Loo’s novel does not tell the expected story of a young man’s introduction to radical Islam. Saeed’s conversion remains a journey of individual disillusionment, as the novel builds towards its violent climax. The story is certainly moving in parts and de Loo does well in capturing the juxtaposition of the familiar and the alien in the Moroccan-set episodes. She describes the exotic “jumble of articles” Saeed encounters, “carpets, slippers, jewels, jellabahs, copper kettles and water pipes”, each nevertheless containing “something of him”’.
Times Literary Supplement

‘Written without rose tinted glasses or succumbing to clichés... De Loo is and remains an authentic born story teller.’ Rotterdams Dagblad

‘Imagination and violence play a big part in Tessa de Loo’s 6th novel, and the first ‘big’ one since THE TWINS. It is also a very relevant novel. HARLEKINO takes on many contemporary themes: the clash between religions, displacement, migration, friendship. Together with the original theme of the search for identity, that makes of HARLEKINO a great novel. The search for the father is described in such detail that the desert sand practically crunches between the pages.’ Parool

‘De Loo is a fine novelist. A tale of discovery through the eyes of a young man whose father was a migrant. Saeed goes to his paternal country and there begins a journey that could be a fable for many in the modern world. De Loo handles her characters carefully and draws the reader gently into their world of imagination and reality.’ Fitzrovia News

'Even though he is the son of a Dutch mother, Saeed has a Moroccan first name in memory of the virtuoso oud player his mother fell in love with twenty years ago. When she found out she was pregnant, he ran off and returned to Morocco. Saeed decides to look for his father, in the hope of finding a new identity in a new world. His childhood friend Hassan accompanies him. Back then they shared an imaginary land which they both ruled. Now they only have one starting point - a grocery shop in Fez. From there they follow the trail of the oud player, who leads them from the cedar woods of Ifrane to the red dunes of the desert to the high Atlas, where Kasbahs are locked in a losing battle with decay. Saeed's search sends him deeper into disillusionment and into the arms of Islam, where he tries to find something to hold on to. But there is a disturbing presence. A seemingly fictitious character from their imaginary past infiltrates Saeed's quest. While Saeed desperately tries to get rid of him, different aspects of his life, more and more beyond his control, reach an apotheosis resulting in one final deed affecting man and beast alike.’


De Arbeiderspers NL


Bertrand Editora Portugal


Haus UK (WEL)


Material: Dutch edition (552pp); English edition (420pp).

Daan Cover

Tessa de Loo meets the dog of her life when he is just one year old. Daan is a Breton spaniel, who in his short life as a hunting dog has been badly treated. Daan brings meaning and contentment to Tessa’s walks, and together they discover the countryside around her Portuguese home. The reader is drawn into her stories of smuggling Daan in possadas, his fear of loud noises and his love of chasing midges. When he dies, Tessa buries him at the foot of a ficus. But Daan does not reside there, he resides here in this book.  The very moving tale of a dog’s life, by a writer at the height of her powers.


De Arbeiderspers NL

Bertrand Editora Portugal

Material: finished copies of Dutch edition (136pp).

the son of spain (de zoon uit spanje)
The Son From Spain (De Zoon Uit Spanje)

Gerlof de Windt, retired teacher of classical languages, is very ill. His children want to make his last birthday into an unforgettable family celebration. That is not going to be easy because one of them, the rebel Bardo, was banished from the house twenty-five years ago and has not been back since. He drifts around in the south of Spain and no one knows what kind of life he leads. To reunite father and son - before it is too late - the only daughter of the family has sought contact with him and has managed to convince him to come back for this last opportunity.


The apparent certainties of life in a well-to-do and well structured world comes up against the idea of freedom based on conviction that Bardo stands for, and the moral consequences thereof. The still smouldering feud between father and son threatens to flair up again, while the question of who will have to look after father on his deathbed hangs like a dark cloud over the festivities. Because everyone is so busy - except perhaps Bardo?


'... a humorous novel written with great pace, a variant on the lost son story that doesn’t miss its mark: that is, convincing us that we are on the wrong path with all our chasing and hunting ' Haagsche Courant


'Nuanced and carefully written, De Loo gives an un-pretty window onto the monster union that's called family.' Spitz


'...a cleverly compact novel.' Financieel Dagblad


'All in all certain important aspects come out the entirety of the oeuvre, and that is definitely clever… people hang from her lips as she reads fragments of her new book. You can hear that this is a book that will speak to many. Wam de Moore calls the novel a morality, exactly the book that the Netherlands needs right now.' Eindhovens Dagblad (about a book launch event)


De Arbeiderspers NL (original publisher)


C Bertelsmann Germany


Material: finished copies (173pp).

A Bed In Heaven (Een Bed In De Hemel)

'Yesterday I buried my father. Now I'm in the Astoria Hotel at Kossuth Lajos, utca number 19-21. I am lying in bed with his son.'


A story that spans multiple decades, A BED IN HEAVEN is narrated by Kata and follows her and her Jewish relatives in Budapest and Amsterdam. Jeno, Kata's father, escaped death during the Holocaust when a Dutch woman hid him in her house. Consequently, he falls in love with his rescuer, but she forces him to watch helplessly as she has sex with a Nazi soldier. After the war, Jeno leaves the woman, not knowing that she was pregnant with a child whose paternity the novel leaves uncertain. Years later, the child, now fully grown, meets Kata, his possible half-sister, and both are strangely attracted to each other. A sublime tale of objectionable desire, of love and of guilt, A BED IN HEAVEN is dramatic and haunting, forcing readers to question the basis of their own morality. Exquisite.


'A consummate dramatization of the impenetrable mysteriousness of other people's lives: convincing proof that de Loo is one of Europe's most accomplished novelists.' Kirkus Review


'One of the most extraordinary and haunting novels I have read... Part thriller, part poignant dramatic poem, it lingers disturbingly in the memory.' David Lister, Books of the Year, the Independent


'An intriguing smoking gun... complete with simmering and forbidden sexual passion.' Sunday Times


'...a virtuoso performance.' Publishers' Weekly


'A very satisfying read. De Loo’s strength lies in conjuring up incidents succinctly, with a few telling images that develop a solid reality for the reader' Jewish Chronicle


De Arbeiderspers NL


Carl Bertelsmann Germany


Karisto Finland


Eroika Czech Republic


Sandesh Bangladesh


Soho Press USA (reverted)


Arcadia UK (reverted)


Material: finished copies (144pp), English text.