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Sara and Liv (Sara en Liv)

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Original Language: Dutch | 192 pp. | May 2017

2 Seas Represents: World Excl Dutch

English sample available

LITERARY FICTION

“An admirably controlled and powerful book.” *** – Elsevier

“Breathtakingly beautiful and raw.” – AD

“A gripping book.” – De Telegraaf

“Sara and Liv is both tough and light-footed, both poignant and exquisite.” — Brecht van Hulten

“Sara and Liv is a touching, poetic and therapeutic book.” — Stine Jensen

“Within the seriousness of the story, the rays of hope shine extra brightly. It is wonderful to read about how Suzan and her Swedish husband, Jens, continue to turn to each other in and despite their own grief. (…) Above all, Hilhorst gives us a lesson in wonder when she writes: ‘I looked at the dead baby in my arms, kissed her closed eyes and it struck me that it is no wonder when something rare happens, but it is indeed a wonder when it does not.’” – Nederlands Dagblad

“This is a heart-breaking story, impressive mainly because of the sincerity of its author, who is simply very good at relating what is happening here.” – Leeuwarder Courant

“Thanks to the author’s beautiful descriptions, you feel, as the reader, that you are in the hospital, the car or the living room, even in the writer’s heart, and you intensely experience the family’s hope, happiness, grief and pain along with them. From start to finish, this haunting story gives you a lump in your throat and goose bumps from head to toe, but in spite of the distressing subject matter it remains a magnificent ode to life.” – Nieuwsblad.be

“It is so remarkable how Suzan Hilhorst has recorded every detail, with a sort of hyper-focus, as though she herself was not part of what was happening around her. Almost like a kind of spell. This book really moved me.” – Marjoleine Wolf, De Amsterdamse Boekhandel

“A story that cannot leave you untouched. Emotional but not melodramatic, and written very well.” – Gerben de Bruijn, Boekhandel Post Scriptum

“I loathe the overused word ‘heart-breaking’, but this book comes dangerously close to it. Of course this is down to the sensitivity with which Hilhorst tells her story, but above all because of her palpable attempt to give her daughters a voice during and after their all-too-brief lives. And she has succeeded 100%.” – Janna Navis, Boekhandel Dominicanenkerk

“This is so beautiful! The book is one big poem. A revelation!” – Trudie de Bruijn, Boekhandel van Rietschoten

“Because of the composed way in which Suzan tells her penetrating story, she succeeds in turning her own grief into a source of consolation for others.” — Coen Verbraak

A book that hits you like a sledgehammer.

Sara and Liv is the touching portrait of the brief lives of two sisters and the impact their death had on the family. Writing in a beautiful, tranquil style and with the unusual changing perspective of both mother and child, Suzan Hilhorst tells her autobiographical story. Sara and Liv is a most impressive debut about loss, grief, hope and happiness and, above all, an ode to life.

“I watched with delight as my mother realised I was with them. And that I would always be there. As unchanging as the time that passes in books. As silent as the seconds after I had exhaled my last breath, but just as present as the air into which that last sigh had disappeared.” — Excerpt, Sara and Liv

Strong points: 

  • Unique and engaging
  • An outstanding debut by a truly talented author
  • For readers who enjoyed Thomese’s Shadow Child and Claudel’s Monsieur Linh and His Child
  • Author appeared on Coen Verbraak’s TV documentary about mourning, Kijken in de ziel – De achterblijvers
  • With soundtrack by Michiel Borstlap
  • Professionally produced book trailer, interviews, appearances, advertisements