Maarten Asscher / Maarten Asscher – The Shadow of a Friend

Maarten Asscher – The Shadow of a Friend

Maarten Asscher – The Shadow of a Friend

Read our sample translation of The Shadow of a Friend

About the book

A young investigative journalist is working on a feature article that takes a critical look at right-wing politician Xavier Wiegers. As part of her research, she wants to interview his college friends, all of whom belong to a small, but still tightly-knit secret society called Honey Ball. To her frustration, the circle of friends completely freezes her out. However, it does become apparent that Wiegers’ friends take issue with his political views. On the eve of the society’s forty-year anniversary celebration, the question is not whether the friendships will suffer so much as just how bad the fallout is going to be.

The Shadow of a Friend is a novel about moral dilemmas you don’t realize you’re dealing with until they’ve become unsolvable, and about a defiant young woman who decides to go up against five ‘old boys’.

Excerpt from The Shadow of a Friend:

“I’m absolutely convinced you have some newsworthy things to tell me, and that those have to do with Xavier Wiegers. As you know, I’m working on an article about what I consider to be the highly questionable views advanced by that politician, with whom you have been friends for the last forty years. Those views frequently lie at the very limits of propriety, or even cross those limits, when it comes to the position of migrants, political refugees and minorities in general. He incessantly makes discriminatory and racist pronouncements, promotes false and misleading claims about the EU as a democratic system, he throws doubt upon the nonpartisan nature of the Dutch judicial system…”
“But now you’re conflating…” Van Lynden started.
“Perhaps you’ll allow me to finish my thought, then I’ll be delighted to hear your reaction,” she cut in quickly, then went on right away (...) I’m sure you have an opinion about that, don’t you?” Kyra placed her notepad conspicuously on the table in front of her, and beside it the ballpoint pen she had taken from her bag.


With eighteen books to his name, Maarten Asscher (b. 1957) is a prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction and a translator of poetry. An earlier novel and various of his novellas have been translated into German. In 2019, Asscher received the J.H. Donner Prize, awarded every five years, for his exceptional contribution to Dutch letters. The Shadow of a Friend is his third novel.

© Sacha de Boer

Additional book information

  • Novel
  • ISBN 9789403121413
  • Number of pages: 288
  • World rights excl. German (Petra Eggers): De Bezige Bij
  • Price: €24,99
  • English sample available