We will not break


Anna and Schard are the daughter and son of two mothers and are growing up in a polder, an idyll of Dutch tolerance. Until one unnaturally normal day, for grown up reasons and while the dog whines loudly, a big yellow taxi arrives and carries away one of the two mothers, with only the mention of a failed experiment.

Years after the messy separation, Anna is hopelessly in love with an artist who likes to wear skirts a bit too readily when her big brother appears on the sidewalk in front of her house. Schard has just returned from India, where he has tried to do something important and good.

While, without each other, their mothers are carefully finding happiness, the two half-bloods are faced with an exceptionally hot summer, their own derailing love lives, their toxic desires, and each other.

We Will Not Break, is a stormy and, at times, sentimental family novel, about obsessions and good care.

Original title:

Opmaak 1
We zullen niet te pletter slaan

April 2014
272 pages

NOMINATED

SHORTLIST ANTON WACHTERS PRIZE 2014
SHORTLIST OPZIJ LITERATURE PRIZE 2015
SHORTLIST ANV DEBUTANT PRIZE 2015
LONGLIST GOLDEN OWL  2015

Nina Polak studied Dutch and cultural analysis at the University of Amsterdam and literary studies at the New School University in New York. She writes for De Groene Amsterdammer. We will not break is her debut novel.

Press comments:

‘Beautiful, imaginative phrases and witty metaphors.’ NRC  Handelsblad

‘The assurance of Polak’s characterizations is at odds with the shaky securities driving her characters –  and that contrast works.’ Arjan Peters, de Volkskrant

‘Polak sees her characters not as a fill-in exercise. The reader must create their own ‘Anna’’ and ‘Schard. This helps the novel rise above the usual “novel of development” with a completely, or not, happy ending. About her writing style, he says: “Polak seeks a distinctive, elegant style. She enjoys having fun with sentences. (…) You get the picture and you see it before you. If you can see something from a book in that way, it’s literature. De Groene Amsterdammer