Oh my this is grim! As I was reading it I was really hoping that it wasn’t based on the real experiences of the author, or anybody!
Jas and her siblings are growing upon a farm in The Netherlands. They fantasise about what life might be like over the other side of the lake. Then one sad winters day Jas’s brother disappears, he has drowned, fallen through the ice. The family begins to break, the tension between their parents is horrible. Jas tries to understand her feelings of pain and growing up with no adults paying attention and begins to behave in really damaging ways. All of this family are broken. Terrible things begin to happen and on top of it all their beloved cow herd become afflicted with foot and mouth disease.
This book was totally riveting. It was so awful, one of those books you can’t take your eyes away from because things get worse and worse but you are compelled to keep going, hoping all the while that Jas will come through this, that they will begin to repair themselves and that their mother will begin to eat again. There is creeping menace and there is tension, there is also a lot of wincing as situations unfold in front of you.
Broken people, harsh lives, uncomfortable and unpleasant and brilliant.