Arnon Grunberg



After the Frederik Muller Reading, which I gave this this afternoon, a woman approached me. She said: “It was good, but a bit bleak and depressing wasn’t it?” I nodded sympathetically, after all that was my task and I’m used to comments like that, which I appreciate by the way.
But what exactly is meant by “bleak”? What do we expect from this world that we can describe so many things as “bleak”? Is it bleak that other people die while we dine on swordfish and mashed potatoes? Absolutely, but it seems to me unavoidable, and when people use the word “bleak” they never refer to the fact that others are being killed while you enjoy your steak frites. They merely refer to the fact that you dare to remind them of facts they didn’t want to be reminded of. This is an easy and comfortable explanation of the word “bleak” in the context I described above.
The slightly more complicated explanation would be that they didn’t want you to challenge their strategy to construct meaning. Their beliefs should be confirmed. And why not? What we call seduction is above all confirming the beliefs and convictions of the person you want to seduce.
My strategy is slightly different: I’m going to destroy all your beliefs and I will call this seduction.

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