Arnon Grunberg



Today I participated in a symposium about literature and madness in the same mental institution where I was “embedded” as patient in the summer of 2013. (See: here for example.)
The symposium was slightly less ambitious than I had expected, but the conversation with psychiatrist and author Dirk de Wachter was nothing less than pleasant and elegant. Of course I’m not judging my own performance.
Afterwards I went to “my” ward to see if I could find an old acquaintance from last summer, but nobody was there. Even the nurses were out. It was weekend. I left the mental institution with this awkward feeling that they didn’t want me back as a patient.
My friend Mark drove me to Antwerp where we had dinner at an Italian restaurant, not far from Antwerp Central Station.
While I was eating my panna cotta an elderly lady came to my table and said: “You look like this writer. You know who I mean?”
“No,” I answered.
“Arnon Grunberg,” she said. “But you are much younger.”
She was absolutely sincere, no irony, no games.
“I look younger than myself,” I said to my friend Mark. “Is this a compliment?”
He thought about it for a second and then he said: “Yes, it is.”

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