Uitgeverij De Geus
ISBN: 9789044525014 
6e druk

Over 35.000 copies sold in The Netherlands and Belgium.

Awards and nominations

DWDD Boek van de Maand september 2018

Shortlist Confituur Boekhandelsprijs 2019

Shortlist Jongerenliteratuurprijs 2019

Longlist Libris Literatuurprijs 2019  

Longlist 2021 International Booker Prize


Albanian (…) Ombra GVG (2022)

Arabic (…) Al-Arabic (2022)

Bulgarian (…) ICU Publishing (2022)

English (Summerbrother) World Editions – trans: David Doherty (2021)

Czech (Letní Srst) Albatros – Vysehrad – trans: Veronika ter Harmsel Havlíková (2021)

Russian (…) Mann, Ivanov & Ferber (2022)

Slovenian (Bratov Kožuh) Mladinska Knjiga – trans: Stana Anzelj (2021)

Turkish (…) Kafka Kitap (2022)

FILM adaptation

Producer: Family Affair
Script: Britt Snel
Director: Joren Molter


Summer Brother (Zomervacht)

Thirteen-year-old Brian lives in a trailer on a forgotten patch of land with his divorced and uncaring father. His older brother Lucien, physically and mentally disabled, has been institutionalized for years. While Lucien’s home is undergoing renovations, he is sent to live with his father and younger brother for the summer. Their detached father leaves Brian to care for Lucien’s special needs. But how do you look after someone when you don’t know what they need? How do you make the right choices when you still have so much to discover?

Guest at VPRO Boeken about Summer Brother (NL)
DWDD talkshow: Boek van de Maand (NL)

Radio 1 with Özcan Akyol (NL)
Radio 1 about Summer Brother with Jellie Brouwer (NL)
Radio 4 about Summer Brother with Annemieke Bosman (NL)

Summer brother is an impressive novel: a deceptively simple story of lives at the margin, with a child’s viewpoint perfectly pitched and sustained, it is cleanly written and powerfully imagined. It reminded me of Clare Keegan’s novella FOSTER, which has a girl narrator of a similar age, and is an outstanding book. But the challenges are greater here, as Robben deals with all kinds of inflammable material, and does it with such tact and understanding.’ Hilary Mantel

‘I just adored the novel Summer Brother. Bravo, bravo is what I have to say. It kind of saved me in a way.’ Elisabeth Strout

‘Robben is wonderful at drawing characters with just a few deliberate strokes.’ ‘Like a photographer shooting a portrait, Robben captures his subjects in “Summer Brother” in a focused close-up. It’s intimate, even claustrophobic at times, just as life must be for an isolated boy like Brian, looking with wonder to the lights on the hill.’ The New York Times

‘A deeply humane novel centred on a disabled man, his heroic younger brother and an unreliable, partly criminal father living on an all but derelict site. The book is generous to all its flawed characters, is beautifully written and humanises lives of abject poverty on the edge of squalor and disaster.’  International Booker Prize 2021

‘Humorous and shrewd novel… evocative coming-of-age novel.’ ‘Astute characterisations.’ ‘Robben depicts the limitations of a dysfunctional family but also celebrates empathy as a force for good.’ The Observer – The Guardian

‘Delicate and deeply affecting’ The Daily Mail

‘Summer Brother is a work of rare intricacy that warrants to be read with all the seriousness one can muster.’ World Literature Today

More reviews

Animated Booktrailer made by Mirjam Debets when Zomervacht was chosen by the DWDD Bookpanel as their Book of the Month.

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