- 5,49 €
In the words of bestselling author Susan Vreeland, “Renate Dorrestein knows how to chill her readers with tragedy and then melt their hearts with forgiveness.” A Heart of Stone is a story of love, fate, and survival that plumbs the undercurrents of family life with passion and skin-prickling suspense.
Growing up with her adored siblings in a rambling house in Holland, clever, precocious Ellen has an idyllic childhood suffused with Americana from her parents’ news-clipping service—from Coca-Cola to Kissinger to Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon. But amid the happiness lies terror and unimaginable heartbreak and a twelfth birthday that haunts her still. Twenty-five years later, as Ellen tries to make sense of her adulthood, she brilliantly captures her loss and longings and her struggles to dispel the ghosts of her past.
“A stunning novel about the scorching legacy of loss.”—Time
“A striking and finely tuned novel.”-The New York Times
Dorrestein's first novel to be translated into English is a riveting psychological thriller that rates comparison with Shirley Jackson's classic, We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Like Jackson, Dorrestein excels at describing how an eccentric familyDin this case, the van Bemmels of The HagueDis tormented and finally destroyed by the growing madness of one of its members. Frits van Bemmel and his wife, Margje, have four children and a large house, in which they also run a news-clipping service. Their existence seems idyllic, until a fifth child, Ida, is born, and Margje begins acting strangely. She talks back to a divine figure, who urges her to attack her children. Ida suffers from mysterious, recurrent injuries, and the children's father refuses to see the obvious. Narrator Ellen, the third child, is a sharp, book-smart 13-year-old, who realizes something is wrong, but can do nothing but fly into hysterical rages. Twenty-five years later, Ellen finds herself back in her childhood home, alone, separated from her husband and expecting a baby. Huddled in the basement, she pages through a family picture album and forces herself to think back on the inexorable, mad decline of the household and the day when "life blew up in our faces like a time bomb." Dorrestein's exquisitely calibrated narrative becomes mesmerizing as Ellen struggles to comprehend how one day her whole family could just be wiped out and how she could have survived.