‘He had never seen her like that before. Awesomely beautiful, like a tree or bush that produces as much blossom or as many flowers as possible the year before it dies.’
A woman abandons her home in Holland without a word, leaving behind an impervious husband, mystified parents, and an unfinished thesis on reclusive poet Emily Dickinson. Across the sea in Britain, she arrives at an isolated cottage in the shadow of a mountain. She settles there, alone in the ancient landscape, her only contact coming from animals she encounters, a handful of wary locals, and her poetry books. But what is she fleeing? And will her new home provide redemption, or lead her further into darkness?
On a foggy afternoon, her solitude is shattered when an elusive young man jumps over her fence. Perhaps his vitality can deter the shadows, but in this uncanny place the line between kindness and betrayal is never clear.
Meanwhile, the woman’s husband is coming, and time is running out. Haunting and suspenseful, The Detour explores both the weakness and the commanding power of the flesh. In the clear-eyed, uncompromising prose that we have come to expect from the award-winning Bakker, it asks: when our lives go awry, which route do we take?