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Preview: Arnon Grunberg - Blog

Arnon Grunberg - Blog

The day-to-day life of Arnon Grunberg



Sun, 23 Apr 2017 11:47:42 +0200



A symbolic wedding and a pizza in Flüelen, Yahtzee in Weggis.



Fri, 21 Apr 2017 23:23:22 +0200



About a year ago I hiked with my friend Mark and my girlfriend from Vitznau to Weggis.
I'm back, albeit without Mark, but there's always 2018.
A friend asked: "Do you think that the cows are going to attack us?"
"Not today," I answered.



Thu, 20 Apr 2017 19:24:17 +0200



Dinner in Altro Paradiso with twin sisters.
The dice convinced us to order limoncello and another espresso. The food was excellent, the diners worth watching.



Thu, 20 Apr 2017 07:49:12 +0200



"On June 9, the morning after the general elections that she announced on Tuesday, Theresa May could be the most powerful prime minister since the second world war," Janan Ganesh writes in the FT.

Read the column here.

Strength is the weakness of your opponent and the ironic machinations of history.



Wed, 19 Apr 2017 01:42:24 +0200



A.O. Scott on "“Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer” - Joseph Cedar’s new movie:

'In his own mind, Norman Oppenheimer, a well-dressed, well-spoken Manhattanite played with feeling and mischief by Richard Gere, is what’s known in Yiddish as a macher. He travels the circuits of money and influence, always just a few capillaries removed from the beating heart of power. His mental Rolodex swells with the names of the good and the great, every one of them “a very close friend.” He’d be happy to introduce you.

His alleged friends — financiers, captains of industry, political big shots in Washington and Tel Aviv — might reckon things differently. A rising Israeli politician named Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi) describes Norman to an aide as “a warm Jew.” It’s the nicest thing anyone can say. The aide, an actual fixer named Duby (Yehuda Almagor), has other ideas. In his eyes Norman is, at best, a minor annoyance; at worst, a threat to his patron’s career.

’s no accident that some of Duby’s words about Norman — “scheming” and “bloodsucking,” in particular — evoke the historical language of anti-Semitism. Mr. Cedar, a New York-born Israeli filmmaker, has a sharp eye for intra-Jewish conflict, for the narcissism of large and small differences that can cause the unity of God’s chosen people to splinter like matzo. His previous film, the sublime academic comedy “Footnote,” mined father-son rivalry and scholarly antagonism for biblical pathos and borscht belt humor. “Norman” traces fault lines, more cultural and temperamental than ideological or religious, between the members of the diaspora (or at least the New York wing of it) and their cousins in the Promised Land.'

Read the review here.

While leaving the movie theater I overheard somebody saying: "It was a bit anti-Semitic wasn't it?"

Definitely not more anti-Semitic than "The Merchant of Venice". Actually, Norman Oppenheimer is a Shylock for our times, but he doesn't operate among gentiles, he operates among Jews.

According to this movie the world is nothing more than a You-scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours-world. (Are Jews better at scratching?)

Some people don't have a back to scratch, others lack hands for scratching. So much is for sure.

Go and see "Norman" and decide for yourself what kind of back scratcher you would like to be.



Tue, 18 Apr 2017 07:35:53 +0200



"When national ambitions, personal ego and deadly weapons are all in the mix, the opportunities for miscalculation are many," write David E. Sanger and William J. Boad in The New York Times.

Politics is another opportunity for miscalculation.

It's our task to prevent deadly miscalculations.


High tea

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 06:57:45 +0200



Lunch, high tea and breakfast at Per Se

I was intrigued by a gentleman and a lady with precious hats at the table next to us. Probably they were celebrating Easter, but there is plenty of reason to wear exuberant hats after Easter.



Sun, 16 Apr 2017 05:46:20 +0200


So kind

On the KLM flight from Amsterdam to New York a flight attendant approached. "Mr. Grunberg," she said, "would you be so kind to switch seats with the gentleman next to you? He has some back problems, and he'd like to have an aisle seat, so he can get up as often as possible."
"Of course," I answered.
But the gentleman next to me had changed his mind. He said: "I will keep this seat."
At the end of the flight the flight attendant approached me again. "Can we take a picture of you?" she asked.
"Of course," I said.
I followed her into the "kitchen" and I put my arms around her and a fellow flight attendant.
She didn't appear to have read any of my books or columns. Maybe she mistook me for somebody else, but it was one of the more pleasant misunderstandings.
Most pleasure is the result of a misunderstanding.



Fri, 14 Apr 2017 14:34:22 +0200



Alexander Osang in Der Spiegel on Frauke Petry, her hairdo and her allies:

"She has the best haircut among top German politicians but unlike most party leaders in Saxony, drives around in a Seat van instead of a black sedan.

All of that contributes to her success, and is also part of her problem. She often doesn't fit one's expectations of the AfD. In fact, watching her in the past few months, Petry doesn't even seem like what you'd expect from a politician.

But she is. She congratulated Wilders, a man who looks just as sinister as he is, on his election result. She also sent a telegram complimenting Donald Trump - whose looks and politics are likewise in perfect accord - on his election victory."

Read the article here.

Finally, the looks of male politicians are as newsworthy as the hairdo of a female politician.

But the most important question: should the politician and his looks be in perfect accord?



Thu, 13 Apr 2017 23:47:54 +0200



The E. du Perron biographer approached me after my lecture. "Speaking of Freud," he said. Do you want to become a guest lecturer in Paris? For a period of three weeks."
"I'm Interested, but what's the connection with Freud?"
"None," he said. "I'm a man on a mission."
"You mean Freud was a man with a mission as well?"
He nodded.