The Twins

(De Tweeling)

Tessa De Loo

Film Adaptation ‘Twin Sisters’ Oscar Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film

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

The Twins

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
  • Takween Publishing Arabic

Material: finished copies (408pp)