The story is of a family - mother, father (ex-WWII pilot), 12-year-old son, David - who live above a toy shop in a small town on the windswept Dutch coast.
On the same day that David finds himself listening to the toy shop owner complaining that he can no longer sell model aeroplane kits because kids nowadays are too lazy to glue all the pieces together, David's father quits his job in a fit of pique and pride. A few hours later, his mother comes home, having left her job too. So David devises a plan - and before the day is over the whole family is at home, putting model aeroplanes together.
A wonderful, perfect summer ensues, suddenly interrupted by the arrival of an unexpected visitor, his father's old friend from the war. His arrival revives old feelings of loyalty, love and hatred - and ensures that nothing will ever return to a perfect state again.
An astonishing book. Elegant and mesmerising. Accessible, warm, funny and wise, this novel was a massive bestseller in Möring's native Holland. A gem of a story, it has the fable-like appeal of a 'Miss Garnet's Angel' (but without the middle-Englandness) or of Bernard Schlink's 'The Reader' (but without the heavy moral overtone).
The book is most reminiscent of JL Carr's 'A Month In The Country', the Booker Prize-winning English novel set just after World War One, heavy with nostalgia, evocative, melancholic.