Arnon Grunberg



I’ve been embedded with soldiers, Dutch and German soldiers in Afghanistan, American soldiers in Iraq, I’ve been embedded with chamber maids in Germany and masseurs in Romania, I’ve been embedded with “normal’ Dutch families in “normal” Dutch suburbia.
But this summer I may be embedded with patients in a psychiatric hospital. This afternoon I visited the hospital, not far from Antwerp. I had a meeting with the director, the managing director, two psychiatrists and one psychologist.
“Do you expect treatment?” one of the psychiatrists wanted to know.
“To be honest, yes,” I said. “No medication, but all other treatment yes.” “So you want free treatment,” the director said. “And what do we get back?” “I can give a workshop on writing,” I proposed.
“We want you to report as objectively as possible on our hospital, how it is functioning, what irritated you. We want feedback.” “That’s doable.”
"Some of the patients are really looking forward to living with you for two weeks,” the psychologist said. “You will probably be placed in a unit where we prepare patients for a return to society. We will prepare you for a return to society.”

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