Writer, columnist, essayist and screenwriter.
His breakthrough came in 1994 with Blauwe maandagen (Blue Mondays), a tragi-comic novel that portrays his tense relationship with his parents, Holocaust survivors. The book was a resounding success, both in the Netherlands and abroad. Many other novels followed.
His novel, Tirza (2006, winner of the Golden Owl and Libris Literature Prize), the story of a father’s love for his daughter that ultimately drives him to the edge of the abyss, was showered with prizes, made into a movie, and adapted for the stage. His most recent novella, Het bestand, a satirical story (the title of which translates either as ‘truce’ or ‘[computer] file’) denouncing today’s online age, was written as an experiment during which he had his brain activity monitored as he wrote. In 2016, his book about his mother who died last year will be published in Germany, together with her own autobiography which includes her descriptions of her experiences in Auschwitz. Since 2010, Grunberg has been writing a daily column for the front page of the Dutch daily De Volkskrant. His work has received many prizes in the Netherlands and abroad, and has been published in dozens of languages.
Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2016
Translated by Rainer Kersten und Andrea Kluitmann
Original title: Moedervlekken (Lebowski, 2016)
Otto Kadoke works as a psychiatrist at a crisis center: his task is to keep people with a death wish alive. One day, when he visits his old, needy mother, one of her Nepalese caretakers opens the door wearing nothing but a bathroom towel. The psychiatrist, always bend on sticking to protocol, is overwhelmed by feelings of love for the girl; as a consequence, from now on he will have to arrange taking care of his mother by himself.
Kadoke has no children, is middle aged, but not unattractive to physicians in training: he has managed to seduce several of them. After yet another transgressive encounter - this time with a suicidal young woman – both Kadoke’s professional and private life start falling apart: his mother’s house is turned into an outpatient crisis center.
Birthmarks is a ruthless novel about a son’s love for his mother and father, and vice versa. A book about two people unable to live – or die – without each other.