Summer Brother

“Jaap Robben handles delicate, dangerous material with subtlety and sympathy.” ―COLM TÓIBÍN

Thirteen-year-old Brian lives in a trailer on a forgotten patch of land with his divorced and uncaring father. His older brother Lucien, physically and mentally disabled, has been institutionalized for years. While Lucien’s home is undergoing renovations, he is sent to live with his father and younger brother for the summer. Their detached father leaves Brian to care for Lucien’s special needs. But how do you look after someone when you don’t know what they need? How do you make the right choices when you still have so much to discover? Summer Brother is an honest, tender account of brotherly love, which will resonate with readers of Rain Man.

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Publication date

February 9, 2021




Jaap Robben

Jaap Robben is a poet, playwright, performer, and acclaimed children’s author. You Have Me to Love, his first novel for adults … Read more


Praise for Summer Brother

“A writer who crosses the ball with such elegance that there’s no need to hammer it home.”

De Volkskrant


“Subtle and refined.”

NRC Handelsblad


“Robben’s style is deceptively simple. You don’t have to be an adult to read Summer Brother, yet Robben’s imagery, subtle humor, and surprising plot will connect with the most literate of readers. The novel gives a moving insight into a boyhood that gives pause for reflection.”

De Standaard


“Like no other writer, Robben can empathize with the mind of a child and he imbues the reader with this open and uninhibited outlook as the story unfolds.”



Summer Brother is a wry and funny book about a damaged family.”

Algemeen Dagblad


“Lovingly, Robben shows Brian’s hapless attempts to deal with pills and full diapers, yet all the while he is working mercilessly towards the inevitable climax.”



“A poignant story about loyalty, disloyalty, solidarity, and puberty.”

De Limburger


“A truly gutsy novel.”



Summer Brother is a beautiful, modest novel. As he did with You Have Me to Love, Robben will once again win over a young generation of readers with this book. That in itself is praiseworthy.”



“Jaap Robben has once again written an overwhelming book.”

HMC Dagbladen


“His first novel, You Have Me to Love, was well-received, won prizes, and became a sales success. Summer Brother is a worthy successor and has all the ingredients to follow the same path. Robben knows how to write simply and magnificently―I kept underlining beautiful sentences in the first chapters.”