Jaap Robben (1984) is a popular Dutch poet, playwright, actor, and children's author. You Have Me to Love is his first novel. It received glowing reviews in the Dutch press and won the prize for the best Dutch debut novel and the 2014 Dutch Booksellers Award.
"You Have Me to Love is an intense and dramatic novel filled with meticulous use of detail and a forensic psychological accuracy. Its power comes from the fierce energy of the narrative structure, the way of handling silence and pain, and the ability to confront the darkest areas of experience with clear-eyed sympathy and care. Jaap Robben handles delicate, dangerous material with subtlety and sympathy, but also with a visionary sense of truth that is masterly and unforgettable." -- Colm Toibin, author of House of Names and Brooklyn"What a beautiful writer Robben is! I read the novel and was completely seduced-raw and harrowing and very moving. Robben is a powerful writer and reminds me very much of Per Petterson." -- Aifric Campbell, author of On the Floor"In this tremendous book, Jaap Robben explores isolation, guilt, mother- and childhood, in the most unexpected way. Robben's crystal clear sentences combined with his deep gaze into the flipsides of human behaviour - and love - makes this an unforgetable read. Run to the bookstores, people."--Dorthe Nors, author of Mirror, Shoulder, Signal"beautiful, just beautiful" --Gerbrand Bakker, author of Ten White Geese"A heart-breakingly beautiful book" -- Maud Vanhauwaert"This is a bold, tender and ambivalent narrative, raw and disturbing, with moments of painful beauty. [...] a taut narrative heavy with a convincing sense of dread." --Irish Times"Robben lifts you from your life and sweeps you away, with no chance of escaping. [...] A promising novelist has risen." --De Morgen "An overwhelming debut about lost childhood innocence, You Have Me to Love can be favourably compared to Niccolo Ammaniti's I'm Not Scared and Ian McEwan's The Cement Garden. [...] faultless in [its] description of a child's inner world. [...] a staggering first novel."-- Het Parool"a gripping novel that steadily tightens its hold" --De Volkskrant"You Have Me to Love is a beautiful, intoxicating book full of magnificent sentences and the author's terrific empathy for a 9-, 11-, and 16-year-old boy."--Boekblad"like a record stuck in its groove, it won't let me go." --European Literature Network"a small masterpiece" --Harpers Bazaar"From the very first sentence it is clear how well debut novelist Jaap Robben writes. His childishly simple yet highly suggestive sentences make You Have Me to Love as stark and foreboding as the island on which it is set." --NRC NEXT"Unbelievable ... a beautiful story, light for all its heaviness, written in a clear and powerful style. [...] A coming-of-age tale in which Robben merges grief, simplicity and isolation in a phenomenal way" --Telegraaf"Robben's clear sentences and empathic use of language read like poetry: rhythmic, probing, and sonorous." --Dagblad van het Noorden"A beautiful novel about grief, remorse and loneliness, which excels in its level of sophistication." --Algemeen Dagblad"Robben shows in a sober, visual, poetic style how mother and son keep each other prisoner, unable to live with or without each other." --Nederlands Dagblad"Wow! ... That Jaap Robben can write beautiful sentences, we already knew ... But that, when stripped of all the linguistic limitations of writing for children, he also knows how to pull the punches with a fascinating story about stifling love, we can now proclaim loudly. A literary gem." --Wegener Dagbladen"Robben is a wizard with the written word. On every page you come across sentences of just six or seven words that transform in your head into succinct, artful, razor-sharp films. You Have Me to Love is a true joy to read ..." --BOEK
"The accuracy with which Jaap Robben observes things - a skill which also shines in his best poems - almost hypnotizes." --Leeswolf"In restrained and austere language, it pierces your heart directly to its core." --ZiN Magazine"With You Have Me to Love [Robben] has written himself straight into literary history"--Boekenredactie Bol.com"Magnificent, poetic, lonely, gruesome. And also beautifully written ..." --Kunststof Radio 1"You have those books that you can't put down, but that you also want to savour for as long as possible because otherwise they are over too soon. You Have Me to Love by Jaap Robben is such a book. " --Boekenbijlage.nl"A debut that blew me away and deserves to be read by a large audience." --Boekreviews"You Have Me to Love is an experience. Imagine watching a movie in the pitch black on a big screen wearing headphones: you see and hear nothing else. You live with it, are disgusted by it, and share in its joy and grief. You are overwhelmed by it, and once started there is no escape. The intense dialogues, potent atmospheric descriptions and near-poetic imagery (it's not for nothing that the author is also a poet) make You Have Me to Love a magnificent and powerful story that gets under your skin and stays there." --Cutting Edge"A hard and confrontational book, but at the same time one of exceptional beauty ..." --Na de Lunch"Robben's prose is beautiful and expressive" --Hotel Boekenlust"A moving novel. Jaap Robben writes with a clear and controlled pen and the story is brimming with beautiful imagery." --Dutch Glory"A direct hit."--Marcel Rozer, De Gelderlander"Jaap Robben is an asset to Dutch literature."--Art Rooijackers, ECI"The language is as open and clear as the sea that extends on all sides to the horizon. While reading, you can almost taste the salt on your tongue and feel the wind blowing through your hair." --Recensieweb