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Love, If That’s What It Is

Love, If That’s What It Is

Love, If That’s What It Is by Marijke Schermer, translation: Hester Velmans
(World Editions, 2022, 312 pages)

Terri runs off with a lover, abandoning her children and her marriage of twenty-five years. Her husband, David, is left to take care of their two daughters, one of whom is falling in love for the first time. These four people start to question their identity outside the nuclear family. What remains of a disintegrated home, and what changes?

Marijke Schermer’s Love, If That’s What It Is gives a kaleidoscopic view of a divorce, permitting the reader to enter the heads of not only the spouses, but also of the two daughters and the divorcees’ new lovers. Through several characters, the reader is presented with just as many views on relationships, while Schermer remains impartial and thus confronts readers with their own – perhaps shaky – romantic principles. What is love? With fresh flair and provocative perspectives, Schermer manages to provide an original and versatile answer.

‘The author expertly humanizes each of the characters’ desires and flaws as she illuminates the raw, inner workings of a broken marriage. This is as cathartic as it is gut-churning. […] A scintillating debut.’ – Publishers Weekly
‘Schermer’s fresh style adds something really new to the mountain of stories about falling in love, unhappy marriages, cheating, and heartbreak – she seems to have cleared the dust of the whole theme.’ – de Volkskrant
‘Schermer’s technical ingenuity traps you, making you question your standards, assumptions, and blind spots. This is a big and definitive, but also investigative, story about love. Schermer is fast becoming one of the most interesting writers in the Netherlands.’ – NRC Handelsblad