A Father’s Affair

(De Passievrucht)

Karel G. Van Loon
A Father's Affair

Winner of the top Dutch literary prize, the Generale Bank Prize 1999, and a HUGE bestseller (over 250,000 copies sold) in Holland. A beautifully written ode to love that combines the best qualities of a thriller with the delicacy of a love story and always manages to strike the right tone.

A superbly crafted and well-written story of great power: Armin is in his 30s. He has a young son, Bo. Bo’s mother, Monika died when the child was only 3. Now Armin and his new wife, Ellen, want to have children. But Armin is told that he has always been infertile. So, who is Bo’s father? A wonderful novel – in a word, irresistible.

One of those rare novels that perfectly achieves the ideal combination of literary quality and commercial potential.

‘A whodunit of the heart, compelling, touching and peculiar.’ Michel Faber

‘This is a book that knocks Hornby and Parsons and a host of similar male novelists into a cocked hat. Heart-breaking, funny and wry.’ Sunday Herald

‘When Amsterdamer Armin Minderhout learns that he is infertile, the shock isn’t just in discovering he can never have children: it’s because he already has a 13 year old son. Which leads to the question of who Bo’s father really is. With Bo’s mother dead, no one seems able to supply the answer. Haunted by the need to know, Armin embarks on a new quest to discover the truth, regardless of who is hurt in the telling. A bestseller in Holland, Van Loon’s novel unwinds with a thriller’s pace. As well as tackling the issue of fatherhood, it is also a love story. But at its core is an emotive invitation to paranoia as each stone Armin looks under reveals just how little he knew about the woman he loved – and raises unsettling questions about how much one person can ever know about another.’ Observer

‘Completely original… combines the finest elements of a psychological thriller and literary read.’ Elle, France

‘Stunning in its simplicity.’ Time Out

‘Don’t miss this passionate story about love, grief, sex… van Loon is wise, funny, entertaining and profound. If you want to be reminded of what it means to human, read De Passievrucht.’ Bergensavisen, Norway

‘…van Loon’s clever plot forces you to go on reading.’ NRC Handelsblad

‘DE PASSIEVRUCHT is a small masterpiece… compelling from beginning to end, tense and witty.’ Elsevier

‘An exciting, very moving novel written with great talent… The writer’s overall control is masterly.’ De Volkskrant


  • Veen NL (original publisher)
  • Gustav Kiepenheuer Germany
  • Norstedts Sweden
  • Albin Michel France
  • Grijalbo Spain
  • Patakis Greece
  • Cappelen Norway
  • Kinneret Israel
  • Gummerus Finland
  • Fazi Editore Italy
  • Kodansha Japan
  • Canongate UK & USA
  • Gentas Gerel Turkey
  • Host & Son Denmark
  • Pont Hungary
  • Metafora Czech
  • Queillerie South Africa
  • Alfa-Narodna knjiga Serbia
  • Dom Quixote Portugal
  • New Sprouts Publisher Taiwan
  • AST Russia
  • W.A.B. Poland
  • Record Brazil
  • Bard Bulgaria
  • HarperCollins Canada
  • Marjan Tisak Croatia
  • Globus R Albania
  • Edda Iceland
  • Pegasus Estonia
  • Madris Latvia
  • Serambi Ilmu Semesta PT Indonesia
  • Zalozba Tuma Slovenia
  • Musu Knyga Lithuania
  • Sodam Publishing House Korea
  • Humanitas Romania

Material: Various editions