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a requiem memoir

Tonio by Adri van der Heijden
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Winner of the 2012 Libris Literature Prize — the Dutch equivalent of the Booker Prize — and a bestseller in Holland and Germany, this is a mesmerising rendition of grief and love.

On Pentecost 2010, Tonio — the only son of writer Adri van der Heijden — is hit by a car. He dies of his injuries that same day. Tonio is only 21. His parents are faced with the monstrous task of forging ahead with their lives in the knowledge that their only child will never again come home, never again stop by just to catch up, never again go out shopping with his mother and bitch about passers-by, never again ask his father: 'Did you work well today?' Never again.

Adri van der Heijden is driven by two compelling questions: what happened to Tonio during the final days and hours before the accident, and how could this accident happen? This search takes in various eyewitnesses, friends, police officers, doctors, and the mysterious Jenny — who turns out to have played a crucial role in Tonio's life during those final weeks.


‘Recording this death [of his son] becomes both a duty to Tonio and part of the struggle of grieving, and van der Heijden finds he cannot not write about it … these two strands are woven together skilfully, and beautifully at times.’ The Weekend Australian

‘A monument to love and suffering: the author A.F.Th. van der Heijden has written a requiem for his son. Tonio is one of the most powerful, compelling expressions of the human spirit in the face of its opposite, death and the void.’ Die Welt

Scribe Publications Pty Ltd; August 2015
544 pages; ISBN 9781925113921
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Title: Tonio
Author: Adri van der Heijden; Jonathan Reeder