Arnon Grunberg



While having dinner I was listening to “This American Life”, the episode “Fiasco”, actually an updated version of this episode from 1997.
You can listen to it here.
The beginning of the episode is about a theater production (Peter Pan) in a small town, it’s hilarious, and you cannot listen to it without a certain amount of schadenfreude. I would even say that this episode makes schadenfreude attractive.
It reminded me also of the fact that all great novels are about fiascos.
Puritanism, which has been making a comeback for years, disguised as moralism, activism, engagement et cetera, cannot stand fiascos. Puritanism, needless to say, is the enemy of the novel; of mankind I would say.
Yes, the delight with which we receive other people’s fiascos can easily become cynicism or worse. But we are allowed to celebrate our own fiascos, although this celebration can turn into pretentious self-flagellation. Let’s say that we can transform our own fiascos into tales with which we entertain our friends on long, snowy nights.
Thanks to the novel we can enjoy other people’s fiascos without a sense of guilt.

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