In The Reunion Sabine Kroese tells her own story – and what a story it is!
It opens with Sabine returning to her administrative job in a big bank after a nervous breakdown. She has been away for a long time and a lot has changed. In particular Sabine’s closest friend she left and a woman Sabine appointed has been promoted over her head, and seems determined to make Sabine’s life difficult.
It’s all horribly believable and you cannot help sympathising with Sabine, particularly when you come to realise that the problems that caused her breakdown are still unresolved
The story of Sabine’s past unravels slowly.
Nine years earlier, when Sabine was fifteen, her friend Isabel had disappeared. She rode bike away from school in the small seaside town of Den Helder, apparently going to meet somebody, and was never seen again.
Isabel and Sabine were close friends when they were very young, but things changed as they grew. Isabel, bright and pretty, became the leader of the cool kids and a girl who could get whatever boy she wanted. Sabine became the child they tease dand bullied, the butt of their jokes.
All of this has been coming back to Sabine. Memories are stirred when an old schoolfriend appears at work, and they begin a relationship. And an advertisement for a school reunion appears in the newspaper. Long suppressed memories of things that happened on the day Isabel disappeared are beginning to surface, and eventually Sabine decides that the only way for her to find peace is to uncover what really happened that day.
New possibilities and questions are thrown up with every twist in the tale.
You certainly wonder if Sabine is an unreliable narrator. She is engaging though, and you cannot help sympathising with her, even as you wonder if she is fooling herself as well as you.
The story builds to a final revelation – or maybe not.
What you do have in the end though is a well-constructed and very readable debut adult novel.
Translated by Michele Hutchison