**Shortlisted for the 2017 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
**Shortlisted for the 2017 Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature
**Finalist for the Frank Hegyi Award for Emerging Authors
**A CBC Books Best Canadian Debut Novel 2016
**A Guardian (UK) Best Book 2016
**An Observer (UK) Best Book 2016
**An Amazon (UK) 2016 Rising Star (Best Debuts)
A wrenching and deceptively spare debut novel about an electric friendship between two boys that slowly reveals itself as a deep and lifelong love.
Jan de Vries is a virtuoso pianist who would be in the prime of his career but for the crippling auditory hallucinations that have plundered his performances and his mind. As the disorder reaches its devastating peak the walls Jan has built around him crumble, rendering him unable to repress the overwhelming flood of memories and the troves of unspoken words that linger between him and his childhood best friend, Dirk Noosen, with whom he lost touch long ago. He is faced with only one recourse: to head home and confront him. With a singular voice and a masterful balance of emotional resonance and restraint, Eric Beck Rubin tells the tender story of Jan's obsessive friendship with the charismatic, irreverent raconteur Dirk as the reader breathlessly awaits their reunion.
This luminous novel is about music, repression and regret; about adolescence, sex and friendship, and, ultimately, about the kind of love that lasts a lifetime.
Rubin's alluring, emotionally precise debut illuminates the messy contours of friendship between two young Dutch men. Successful middle-aged concert pianist Jan de Vries, living in Maastricht, suffers increasingly from constant, discordant noises in his head that derail his performances. He flashes back to explain how an unresolved childhood friendship with Dirk torments him. After the impulsive, competitive Dirk steals and quickly tires of Jan's first girlfriend, the two boys become inseparable as young teenagers. Dirk's frenzied attitude and laissez-faire home life counterbalance Jan's reserve and conservative family. Their shenanigans expand to include casual sexual encounters without consideration or labels. When Dirk leaves for college in America and Jan devotes himself more seriously to musical studies, the two almost completely lose contact. Though Jan finds increasing professional accolades and a solid, supportive relationship with the stabilizing Lena, Dirk's periodic postcards and updates from mutual friends nag his peace. Seeking a solution to the auditory problem leads him back to Den Bosch, his hometown, and a gut-punching confrontation with Dirk. Jan's secret suffering forms a robust center for this quietly haunting novel of collapsing delusions and the long afterlife of foundational relationships.