de Loo, Tessa 1947-

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de LOO, Tessa 1947-

PERSONAL: Born October 15, 1947, in Bussum, Netherlands.

ADDRESSES: Offıce—c/o BV Uitgeverij de Arbeiderspers, Postbus 2877, 1000 CW Amsterdam, Netherlands.

CAREER: Writer.


De meisjes van de suikerwerkfabriek, Arbeiderspers (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1983.

Meander, Arbeiderspers (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1986.

Het rookoffer, CPNB (Netherlands), 1987.

Isabelle, Arbeiderspers (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1989.

Alle verhalen tot morgen, Arbeiderspers (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1992.

De Tweeling, Arbeiderspers (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1993; translated by Ruth Levitt as The Twins, Soho Press (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Petra Waaijer and Saskia Leferink) Maestro, muziek! Novella (Bussum, Netherlands), 1994.

Een gevaar op de weg (autobiography), Arbeiderspers (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1999.

Een bed in de hemel, 2000.

Also wrote Een varken in het paleis (travel), Arbeiderspers (Amsterdam, Netherlands).

SIDELIGHTS: Dutch writer Tessa de Loo is best known for her novel De Tweeling, the story of twin sisters from Germany who are separated in childhood after their parents' death. Because of this circumstance, each girl experiences the rise of Hitler and World War II from profoundly different perspectives and the sisters lose touch after the war. In 1990, however, they meet by chance at a Belgian health resort and attempt to reestablish their relationship. But they discover resentment, blame, and guilt before they can reach a true reconciliation.

As a child, Lotte, whose health is frail, is sent to the Netherlands where she is taken in by sophisticated left-wing relatives who distrust Germans. She marries a Dutch Jew, and has contempt for her sister and other Germans who, she believes, were too complacent toward Nazism. Anna, sent to live with relatives on their small farm in southern Germany, is treated as an unpaid servant and grows up more harshly. She marries a Viennese S.S. officer. Both sisters lose their husbands in the war. While Anna is eager to reconcile with her sister after so many years, Lotte is more judgmental, refusing to acknowledge that German citizens could be anything but totally complicit in the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis. As the story unfolds, however, she begins to realize her view may be too rigid.

Critics lauded De Tweeling—which became a bestseller in the Netherlands and sold 500,000 copies in its German translation two years later—as a psychologically acute and richly imagined examination of a troubling subject. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly observed that the novel's "clanking machinery" is at first "off-putting" but that the book's many virtues more than compensate for this drawback, concluding that it "subtly illuminates the ambiguities of national identity and family love." Critics for Library Journal and Booklist expressed similar appreciation. Much of the novel's appeal, they suggested, lies in its refusal to find an easy answer to difficult questions of good and evil. As Time International contributor Susan Horsburgh put it, "De Loo doesn't seek to exonerate Germany but to tell the harrowing tale of war from two sides, to humanize history and add some ambiguity to the good-evil dichotomy." Noting that de Loo's theme and motif could easily have degenerated into cliché in this novel, New York Times Book Review contributor William Ferguson credited the writer with avoiding such pitfalls and creating a work that resists oversimplification.

De Tweeling has been translated into German, English, and Russian, and has won numerous literary awards in the Netherlands.



Booklist, July 2000, Danise Hoover, review of TheTwins, p. 2006.

Canadian Journal of Netherlandic Studies, Volume 18, spring 1997, Remkes Koolstra, "Conflicting Allegiances," pp. 53-56.

Library Journal, July 2000, David W. Henderson, review of The Twins, p. 138.

New York Times Book Review, August 27, 2000, William Ferguson, review of The Twins, p. 18.

Publishers Weekly, June 19, 2000, review of The Twins, p. 57.

Time International, June 26, 2000, Susan Horsburgh, review of The Twins, p. 61.


Tessa de Loo Web page, (September 26, 2001).*

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