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A trenchant fable of angst and risk tolerance

Blank

Peter Terrin

Viktor, a biologist working for the Ministry of Public Health, has difficulty coming to terms with the death of his wife during a carjacking. Nightmares disrupt his experience of reality. The disquieting results of his research on the influence of environmental pollution are brushed aside at the Ministry, but, in his unstable state, he obsesses over them until he becomes paranoid.

 

Terrin demonstrates that he is a master of suspense.
de Volkskrant

To Viktor, the outside world is full of acute danger. Worried about the assumed lack of security at his son Igor’s school, he barricades the two of them in their flat. Extreme care and responsibility gradually turn into pure insanity. At a certain moment, he no longer realises that his son has died. And is his wife dead and buried, or not?

 

Peter Terrin forces the reader through this gradual process, which evolves from suppressed sorrow, via an unbearable sense of responsibility, to the unreasonable anxiety and desperation that causes Victor’s life to tragically disintegrate. Terrin describes this process coolly, with an exceptional eye for visual detail and astute observations. The psychological oppression of the character, terrifyingly elaborated, remains in the reader’s mind long after the book is finished.

Like an iron first around your throat
De Morgen