Arnon Grunberg

A new canon

Pod Gryfami

Last night the Dutch embassy in Poland organized a dinner in this city on the occasion of “my working visit” to Wroclaw, as the embassy described it.
The food at Restauracja Pod Gryfami was Polish but not completely unsophisticated and quite a few of the dinner guests were working at the department of Dutch at the University of Wroclaw.
Even before the coffee (for some reasons a dessert was not available) the discussion was headed for Turkish Delight, the novel by Jan Wolkers, and of course: dirty words.
According to the head of the department of Dutch at the University of Wroclaw there were three good Dutch authors: PC Hooft, Simon Carmiggelt and Herman van Veen.
For those of you not too familiar with Dutch literature this list can be compared to let’s say the statement that German literature consists of: Büchner, Franz Werfel and Reinhard Mey. (Other and better comparisons are welcome but will not necessarily be rewarded with cheese fondue.)
I do think that Büchner is more interesting than PC Hooft, but okay.
At the end of the evening one of the other professors at the department of Dutch whispered in my ear: “And not too many dirty words, when you write your play.�? He looked like a priest – actually I believe he was a priest.