Arnon Grunberg



One of my first readings in Germany took place in Aachen. It was the spring of 1997 and I was reading from my debut novel “Blue Mondays” in German translation. A sales rep of my German publishing house Diogenes, Marlene Diehl, was present at that reading. After the reading the bookstore owner– unfortunately he has passed away – said: “And as always, now I’m waiting for your intelligent questions.” A young man stood up and said: “Yes, I have a question. What does “jemandem einen blasen” (to give head) mean exactly?”
There was a rather long silence; then I tried to answer the question as short and accurate as possible.
Since that day, whenever I meet Marlene Diehl we remember that evening in Aachen.
Earlier this year I changed publishing houses in Germany, I moved from Diogenes to Kiepenheuer & Witsch (I’ve nothing but good things to say about Diogenes). But tonight at the reading in Cologne Marlene Diehl was present.
Even in literature there’s friendship.
There were no explicit questions from the audience, tonight. But a woman in the second row interrupted the moderator by saying: “Could you please concentrate on the book and leave out the political stuff.”

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