"Cool, sparse, and delicious, Esther Gerritsen's Craving hits all the right notes. This is an author who is unafraid of both complex characters and complex emotion (Thank God )." --Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
Elisabeth is dying. Coco jumps at this chance to prove her love, and promptly moves in with her deteriorating mother. A venture that quickly sends both parties spiraling out of control. Alongside a supporting cast of ex-bosses, ex-husbands, and (soon to be ex) boyfriends, the two women attempt to work through the annals of their dark yet often wildly humorous relationship. Psychologically astute and eye-poppingly candid, this is a tale about both excess and denial in which some things perhaps would have been better left unspoken. Sometimes the only person who understands you in this world is your hairdresser...
Gerritsen's sparse and lucid prose chimes with the absurdist logic and melancholy wit of characters as true as they are ridiculous.
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About the AuthorEsther Gerritsen is a Dutch novelist, columnist, and playwright. She is one of the most established, widely read, and highly praised authors in the Netherlands, and makes regular appearances on radio and at literary festivals. Esther Gerritsen had the honor of writing the Dutch Book Week gift in 2016, which had a print-run of 700,000 copies. In 2014 she was awarded the Frans Kellendonk Prize for her oeuvre.
"There's no right way to deal with cancer. But somehow, there seem like a million wrong ways, especially if you're a woman...What a relief, then, to read two new funny, angry, feminist novels that give women with cancer the freedom to behave in the way that's right for them--even if that way is badly...It takes work to figure out how to read Craving, just as it takes work to read Elisabeth herself, but that work is extremely rewarding...I don't know if I've ever read a novel that captures the emotional labor of people-pleasing language quite so well." --New York Times Book Review
"Esther Gerritsen's characters have their own, extremely unique way of viewing the world." --Vogue
"Diagnosed with a terminal illness, a mother known for her lack of empathy reunites with her daughter, but will the pair finally be able to connect? The U.S. debut of a prizewinning Dutch author offers a far from conventional response. Bizarre interior landscapes are exposed to the light in Gerritsen's off-kilter, at times blackly comic work of fiction. The baldness of its opening sets the tone, as Elisabeth de Wit unexpectedly encounters Coco, the adult daughter she rarely sees, on a busy street and seizes the moment to reveal she's dying of untreatable cancer. Gerritsen's searching story of alienation and separation may well engender discomfort in the reader, yet there's empathy too, especially in Elisabeth's slow fade from the picture. The lives of others, in all their peculiarity, are given sympathetic scrutiny in this diverting European oddity." --Kirkus Reviews
"The handful of characters, circumscribed setting, and spare prose style effectively highlight the complexities of a mother-daughter incompatibility that is never quite resolved. Award-winner Gerrsiten's first novel to be translated into English from the Dutch will appeal to readers interested in exploring world literature." --ALA Booklist
"Funny, transparent, and complicated, Craving is a refreshingly honest portrayal of what can happen when a dysfunctional family faces sudden death. An extraordinary, haunting book, "Craving" is a short novel with staying power." --The Gazette
"Ably translated into English for an appreciative American readership by Michele Hutchison, Craving showcases author Esther Gerritsen's sparse and lucid prose, and her genuine flair for absurdist logic and melancholy wit in the deft crafting of characters that are as recognizable as they are memorable." --Midwest Book Review
You don't realise quite how shrouded in sentimentality the cliched portrait of mother/daughter relationships can be in fiction, until you encounter the other thing. Dutch writer Esther Gerritsen has produced an unsettling close-up of emotional alienation brought to the surface through the pressure of reunion...It's a confronting and coldedged, but still black comic, descent into destructive psychology and the abusive potential of love." --The Saturday Age
"Bleak humor and extended ruminations on mortality converge in Gerritsen's novel about the fraught relationship between Elizabeth and her grown daughter, Coco--made even more complex when Elizabeth is diagnosed with terminal cancer. As Coco aims to care for her mother--not always succeeding--both women ponder their own frustrations with life, missed opportunities, and enduring connections." --World Without Borders October Watchlist
"[Gerritsen] shows an almost surgical ability to slice to the bare nerves of difficult human relationships ...Gerritsen's voice is precise and spare. Elegiac, beautiful and very strong, it's a novel you devour in one sitting, drawn into the vortex as the inevitable ending spins nearer." --Daily Mail
"Cool, sparse, and delicious, Esther Gerritsen's Craving hits all the right notes. This is an author who is unafraid of both complex characters and complex emotion (Thank God!)." --Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
"With its deceptively simple yet extraordinary language and its sophisticated humor, Craving is a small gem among recent Dutch literature." --Herman Koch, author of The Dinner
"Funny, moving and memorable, Craving is a wryly observed novel about family, human frailties and how relationships fracture." --Edinburgh International Book Festival