Jörgen Hofmeester once had it all: a representative wife, a nice house with a garden in an upperclass neighboorhood of Amsterdam, a respectful job as an editor of translated fiction, two beautiful and bright daughters named Ibi and Tirza and a large amount of money on a Swiss bank account, because of the the rent that he collects as the landlord of a room in his house.
During the preparations for the party celebrating the graduation of his daughter Tirza and her classmates we come to know what he has lost. His wife has left him for a lover, Ibi has left Holland to start a bed and breakfast in France of which he opposed, the director of the publishing house has fired him and his savings got lost in a hedge fund, because of the economy after 9/11.
On weekdays he hangs around at Schiphol Airport.
The only things Hofmeester still has are his salary, his house and foremost his youngest daughter Tirza, the sunqueen.
Suddenly after three years his wife returns and Tirza gets a new boyfriend named Choukri who looks like Mohammed Atta. To make things worse Tirza and Choukri will go on a one year holiday to Africa: the Dark Continent.
Read an excerpt in English here.
Left: Harry Mulisch gives Arnon Grunberg his best wishes when Grunberg won the Libris Prize with Tirza. Photo by: Evert Elzinga