Grünberg is an experience processing machine. Input is the artificially enhanced life experienced through adaptation of unfamiliar worlds; output are novels, columns, reports and plays.
The Man Without Illness is a tragicomic tale, a satire of globalization and a Kafkaesque nightmare.
There used to be a connection between achievement and fame. You were able to do something well and might become famous because of that. Today, fame is the achievement.
The absurd scenes are recreated laconically, with tragicomic strokes which seal them in memory forever.
I see a youthful figure appear, worming his way through the revolving doors with a baby carriage. Could that be Arnon Grünberg? The hotel manager says it is, and I suppose he should know. The youthful figure seems to enjoy the fact that when he comes in here, in Waldhaus in Sils, there is no turning around - except for the revolving door of course. Try as one might, one hardly associates Arnon Grünberg with a baby carriage, just as little as one would make that association with Proust, who once came in through this same entrance. Is Grünberg hiding behind the baby carriage, in order to remain inconspicuous? Later, in the empty main hall, which the hotel calls the ‘Sunny Corner’, he explains how we are to interpret the baby carriage.
The novel is beautifully written, with some its scenes so delicately and gorgeously rendered, in Sam Garrett’s translation, that you forget for a moment what they’re about. This is the kind of book that reminds you to keep feeling.
Here, at this spot, you will find footnotes to the human comedy.
Since 2002, Flemish author Herman Brusselmans has regularly commented on Grunberg, both in his novels and in interviews.
This man has got to have a neurosis, at least one.
Arnon Grünberg reveals himself as a master of the ironic play with expectations and social norms.