The Cut Out Girl: A Story of War and Family, Lost and Found

Author(s): Bart van Es


The last time Lien saw her parents was in The Hague when she was collected at the door by a stranger and taken to a foster family far away to be hidden from the Nazis. What was her side of the story, Bart van Es - a grandson of the couple who looked after Lien - wondered? What really happened during the war, and after?

So began an investigation that would consume and transform both Bart van Es's life and Lien's. The Cut Out Girl braids together a powerful recreation of Lien's harrowing childhood story with the present-day account of Bart's efforts to piece that story together. And it embraces the wider picture, too, for Holland was more cooperative in rounding up its Jews for the Nazis than any other Western European country. This is a story about the powerful love and challenges of foster families, and about the ways our most painful experiences - so crucial in defining us - can also be redefined.


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Winner of the Costa Biography Award 2018

WINNER of the Costa Book of the Year 2018

 An extraordinary story, harrowing, deeply affecting. This fascinating story is guaranteed to haunt you. --People

The Cut Out Girl is a reminder of the extraordinary richness of archives and the treasures released by scholarly research. --TLS

Superb. This is a necessary book - painful, harrowing, tragic, but also uplifting. --The Times Book of the Week

Harrowing and beautiful --Bookseller

A nuanced, moving, and unusual "hidden child" account. --Publishers Weekly

Fascinating, beautifully written. Van Es carefully salvages Lien's story and creates a deeply moving and complex book about war, atrocity and human suffering. --The Oldie

Brought to life with family photographs and diary entries that add further impact to Lien's harrowing memories and testimony - this deeply affecting and fascinating story is guaranteed to haunt you. --Sunday Mirror 

Bart van Es was born in the Netherlands and is bilingual in English and Dutch. He now lives with his family in England. He is a Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Catherine's College.

General Fields

  • : 9780241285008
  • : Penguin Books, Limited
  • : Fig Tree
  • : May 2018
  • : 2 Centimeters X 15.3 Centimeters X 23.2 Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 940.5318092
  • : 320
  • : Bart van Es