The Cave

The Cave

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Respectable geologist Egon Wagter has always found the amoral Axel van de Graaf's charisma difficult to resist. But from their first meeting as adolescents on a field trip to Belgium, when three lives became inextricably linked in the caves of La Roche, he has never yet allowed himself to be drawn into his friend's criminal life. Instead he has kept his independence, preferring to learn about Axel's exploits as a drug baron from the papers. Now his life as a family man is in tatters and the escape route offered by an expedition to South America lacks only $40,000 to become a reality. So here he is, far from home in a South East Asian country where the penalty for running drugs is death, running drugs for Axel, but maybe also on the brink of finally understanding the secret of the cave and the love that might have more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 18mm | 189g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Dutch; Flemish
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0747556237
  • 9780747556237
  • 1,361,192

Review Text

This is a short novel, but Krabbe's lean, sparse style and brief sentences ensure that it says a great deal. His prose is especially powerful in the tensest moments, of which there are many. As the story begins, geologist Egon Wagter is in a south-east Asian country acting as a reluctant drug courier. If caught, he will face the death penalty. After this taut, breathless opening the story goes into flashback, to Egon's first meeting as a teenager with the charismatic but manipulative Axel van de Graaf, of whom Egon says: 'He was fascinating, irresistible, a friend if you wanted to call him that, but first and foremost he was a bastard.' Their meeting leads to many new experiences for Egon, who in short order discovers dope, alcohol and sex. He also discovers new risks, one of which will ultimately lead to potential disaster. The two men's ambivalent relationship underpins all that happens, affecting even those elements that at first appear unrelated. Krabbe has employed similar subtle methods in previous novels, most notably The Vanishing, which was filmed twice. The cave from which the novel takes its title is one discovered by Egon as a boy - a place of romance, faults and secrets, paralleling his later experiences. Some of the coincidences woven into the story take a bit of swallowing but Krabbe has created a thrilling and fascinating work. (Kirkus UK)show more

Review quote

'Krabbe's carefully constructed narrative has a geometry so precise that the patterns buried under the surface emerge only in the final pages' New York Times 'Full of beautiful coincidences, epiphanies, turning points and roads not taken' Los Angeles Timesshow more

About Tim Krabbe

Tim Krabbe is a chess as well as a cycling enthusiast and one of Holland's leading writers. His many books include the noir novels The Vanishing and The Cave. He lives in Amsterdam. Sam Garrett, a former wire-service correspondent, is the translator of The Rider, also by Tim Krabbe and The Gates of Damascus by Lieve more