His Name Is David


Flanders, 1915. David Verbocht, sentenced to death as a deserter, stands before the firing squad and looks back on his short and turbulent life. As a young man, David was sent away by his parents, after a tragic accident in the family, to become a schoolteacher in the remote village of Elverdinge. There he develops a special bond with a sensitive young student, along with feelings for the boy’s mother—until fate strikes again and the history of loss and guilt seems to repeat. With His Name Is David Vantoortelboom has written a beautifully atmospheric novel about love and tenderness in the face of brutality and war, in a sober and intimate style that shimmers with a restrained sensuality.

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Publication date

April 16, 2019




Jan Vantoortelboom

Jan Vantoortelboom teaches English at The University of Applied Sciences in Vlissingen and lives with his family in rural Zeeland, the Netherlands. … Read more


“Jan Vantoortelboom’s His Name is David, a Dutch-language bestseller, is a tale of forbidden love set in World War I Flanders. Consisting of vignettes, the narrative unfolds as memories of a young Belgian school teacher as he faces a firing squad for desertion” —The Guardian

“For a relatively young writer, Vantoortelboom strikes a powerfully emotive chord” —Irish Examiner

“A book to get excited about” —NRC Handelsblad

“Intelligent and well-composed” —De Morgen