Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Book review : Craving - Esther Gerritsen

When Coco bumps into her mother Elisabeth on the cycle path into town, she unexpectedly learns that she has cancer and won't last longer than a couple of months. And so begins the strange tale of Coco and Elisabeth.

Coco decides to move back in with her mother to help look after her, taking along her estranged father Martin and her mother-in-law, Miriam, for regular visits. The other frequently appearing member of the story is Hans, Coco's unenthusiastic lover. Elisabeth also gets visits from her friendly ex-employer Martin.

There have been numerous dark passages in the past - Coco knows that she was locked into the bedroom when she was a child and, one day, she crashed through a glass door - but nobody can really be sure of who is to blame. If she has accepted to move back home, it is not really for the right reasons - it is all part of a plan to keep Hans on-side, rather than any real desire to get close to her mother. This "unnatural" relationship can be hard to get to grips with.

To make matters worse, Elisabeth is supposed to be autistic. There is no real, solid evidence for this - it's just the decision of her ex-husband, who would have a lot to gain from her mental ill-health - so this makes it even harder to judge who is right and who is wrong. 

Elisabeth has one final chance to make things right before it's too late. Coco seems just as strange and intense as her mother, and I did wonder on several occasions if she was supposed to be autistic too. I couldn't decide if Elisabeth was genuinely autistic though.

It's a rather strange, slightly muddled narrative that had me shaking my head in confusion at several points ! I did wonder if translating from the Dutch has altered the text in any way, but I think translator Michele Hutchinson did a good job with the original text. 

star rating : 3.5/5

RRP : £9.99 (currently £4.51 on amazon)

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: World Editions (2 Oct. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1642860026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1642860023
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 21.3 cm

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


  1. Hmmmm…. I have a copy of this ready to pack for my upcoming holidays, I'm wondering now if I should save the suitcase space for something else!

  2. I was just going to say Hmmm, when I saw Jane's comment. I'm clearly not the only one. :) Perhaps not for me.

  3. Not sure what I think

  4. I really appreciate your reviews. If I treat myself to a new book, I like to know that I will probably enjoy it. This one looks good. Thank you.


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