MY FELLOW SKIN is one of those rare books that you wish were longer than they are, not just a little bit, but double the length, no, three times as long. That said, part of its charm lies in its tantalising brevity; there is just enough to make you hunger for more. On the surface, the coming - of - age story told in the Dutch writer Erwin Mortier's second novel is simple enough. In three short sections, we see the narrator, Anton Callewin, as a small child, when, as he puts it, 'the things that scared me were not yet inside me, but around me'; around the age of eleven, when he moves to a new school and his whole inner world starts shifting; and as an eighteen-year-old, on the brink of life but thrown off course by an unexpected event.
Anton is no ordinary boy, although he stays out of trouble at school by mimicking normal behaviour. He is dreamy, yet serious and observant ('My eyes were hnnels into which the world kept pouring images'), and it is his take on events in the Callewijn household that gives the book