Recent submissions / Alma Mathijsen – Forget the Girls

Alma Mathijsen – Forget the Girls

Alma Mathijsen – Forget the Girls

Read a sample translation of Forget the Girls


About the book

An American journalist named Fields travels with some reluctance to a small Dutch village to interview the famous writer Iris Kouwenaar. Once there, he is soon overwhelmed by a fascination for the mysterious relationship between Iris and her housemate, Kay. He forces himself into their life and observes the total devotion with which Kay cares for her deteriorating friend. In their own little world, between the four walls of a bedroom in West Friesland, the two women have surrendered themselves to one another.

Forget the Girls shines a new light on friendship, which is at least as intense and complex as a romantic relationship. In this novel Alma Mathijsen explores the thresholds between devotion and obsession, between self-sacrifice and egoism.


What’s miraculous about this story is that it’s as wacky as it is effective. Iris Kouwenaar is a believable extinguished star, a fragile genius. Just before the end, she demonstrates genuine mastery in a twelve-page prose poem detailing her exceptional bond with Kay. This piece of art in particular, this almost swan song by Iris, is Alma Mathijsen’s breakthrough as a mature author. It furthermore offers readers of both sexes food for thought. **** — De Volkskrant

Mathijsen's book is an intelligent and witty plea for a more open art criticism, and a thriller, and a feministic novel about female ambition and recognition. **** — De Standaard

Writing lightly about heavy subjects—Alma can do that like few others. Even in this Mulisch-esque novel of ideas. (...) Forget the Girls is as creamy as it is rich. **** — De Limburger

Through these kinds of comments, but more so through its sophisticated composition, exceptional design and the often rousing language, Forget the Girls becomes a delightful book (...) I won’t spoil the rest of the plot here. More important for me is the astuteness and lucidity with which everything is worded again and again: the absurdity of the story, with its “construction workers” who for pages are busy felling an enormous tree, the allusions to the modern literature business, a chapter full of memories in the tradition of Georges Perec, the circling round the many forms of female communities, and the still so impenetrable notion of 'gender', that in Alma Mathijsen’s book so quasi-profoundly transforms into: 'gender without gender'. So yes, read this book. — Reinjan Mulder, Tzum


Alma Mathijsen (1984) studied Image & Language at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Creative Writing in New York. She is the author of six plays, a collection of short stories and two novels. Mathijsen writes essays for the NRC Handelsblad.

Additional Book Information

  • Novel
  • ISBN 9789023499404
  • Number of pages: 216
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: €19,99
  • English sample available