The writer of this novel was born in 1974 in Meknes, a town in Morocco. Four years later her family moved to The Netherlands, following in the footsteps of her father who had preceded the others in his family. He had obtained a job, so now the others could move as well to this small country at the sea. Naima worked very hard to understand the Dutch language, she was a passionate reader of books.
She published her first novel in 1995 while she was still reading Law at Leiden University. This book ‘De weg naar het noorden‘ (The road north’) tells the story of a young man who travels to Europe, for a better life. But he encounters hardship. Naima was a very outspoken young woman who had access to the modern media. She did not shy away from provocative comments about life in The Netherlands.
In the present book Naima tells about her life in a new suburb of Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam. She is married with one child and she recounts her daily life. Caught between her traditional mother and the challenges of modern life as an outsider amidst people of Dutch descent. She writes about the other women, mothers whom she meets at the school yard. Women she meets in shops. Women she meets at parties. At the hair saloon. She finds out that she is seen as a special one. She has one Dutch female friend with whom she talks about her predicament. She finds out that an elderly lady is dealing drugs and medicine. A world of sexual relationships amongst neighbours is laid bare in her book. All this time she is battling her depressions. All of this is mixed with a good sense of humor, but not even this sense can chase away her demons.
This novel (or is it a collection of short and very short stories?) caused some storm in her neigbourhood, probably to many women recognized themselves in the characters inhabiting Naima’s written world. But this book showed her outspokenness and it sold well. She wrote and published two more books, one was a sequel to Vinexvrouwen (2012), the other was published in 2013. In 2020 she took her own life, leaving her husband and two daughters.
Naima El Bezaz