Craving (UK edition)

By Esther Gerritsen

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The relationship between Coco and her mother Elisabeth is uneasy, to say the least. Running into each other by chance, Elisabeth casually tells Coco that she is terminally ill. When Coco moves in with her mother in order to take care of her, aspects of their troubled relationship come to the fore once again. Elisabeth tries her best to conform to the image of a caring mother, but struggles to deal with Coco’s erratic behaviour and unpredictable moods.…
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Literary novel




Michele Hutchison



Original Title


Year of publication



'With its deceptively simple but extraordinary language and its sophisticated humour, Craving is a small gem amongst recent Dutch literature.'—Herman Koch, author of The Dinner

About the author

Esther Gerritsen

Esther Gerritsen (the Netherlands) is an established novelist and playwright. Her successful novel Craving was published in English last year and shortlisted for the Vondel Prize. Roxy was nominated for the Dutch Libris Literature Prize and film rights have been sold. Photo: © Paulina Szafranska

Book Club Questions

Book Club Questions

  1. The novel is called Craving. What expressions of this theme can you find within the text?
  2. Did it take time to get into reading the book or were you immediately drawn into the story? Why or why not?
  3. Do you identify more with Elizabeth or Coco? Why?
  4. What effects do Elizabeth and Coco have on each other’s personality? Can you see ways in which one has shaped the other?
  5. Try to put yourself in Coco’s place in the final scene. What do you think she is feeling, and why?
  6. Why do you think Elizabeth’s husband left her? Do you think he still harbors feelings for her?
  7. How do you think having a child affected Elizabeth?
  8. What is the significance of Coco’s crashing through the window?
  9. Can you identify points in which the characters fail to understand each other? Or, alternatively, points when they want or try to?
  10. How does Elizabeth’s boss feel about Elizabeth?
  11. What effect does Elizabeth’s cancer diagnosis have on each of the main characters?
  12. Was the setting one that felt familiar or relatable to you? Why or why not?
  13. Did you come away from this book wanting to read more by this author or in this style?