September 7th, 2001

emu

Arnon Grunberg - Figuranten (01-077)

Grunberg is one of the young authors who have risen fast during the second half of the nineties. He actually lives in NY, his books are popular amongst school kids, who were bored with artsy fartsy literature and enjoy his straight forward writing, that has much more in it than several of them realise. His debut novel 'Blue Mondays' was translated into at least a dozen languages and praised loud by well-known critics. It's the only book by him I haven't read yet, so I can't judge myself. He was compared with Salinger and Kerouac. One could choose worse comparisons.

Figuranten is a story about three friends. The main character Ewald Krieg, his friend Broccoli and a girl from Argentina, Elvira. The three of them decide to become stars. They invent several ways of doing so, but apart from the occasional sidekick role in small plays or promotional films, they can't find a real way to become famous. They live on the money Broccoli's dad has. In the meantime they hang around the in places, walk the streets, buy Italian papers, not to read them, but because it is good for their image and invent more incredible projects. They practise their 'De Niro'-looks, the world always needs De Niro's, so they will be the next ones.

Obviously nothing really happens, hence the Salinger comparison I guess, but it is still good as I am eager to find out what won't happen next. I enjoyed reading it, don't know if it has been translated yet. I am still not convinced though that Grunberg is the best the Dutch have to offer. I can come up with a few other names, who haven't been translated yet that, in my humble opinion, deserve that praise more than he does. But I am looking forward to his next book anyway.
  • Current Music
    Mano Negra - King kong five