Arnon Grunberg
Booklist online,
2013-01-15, Booklist online


Julie Trevelyan

Jörgen Hofmeester lives in Amsterdam, where he juggles his career’s possible ending, the mysteries of an abruptly failed marriage, and the changing definitions of his relationships with his daughters in Dutch author Grunberg’s dark examination of one man’s unraveling life. A birthday dinner party for Hofmeester’s youngest daughter, Tirza, sets the uncomfortably dank and often disturbingly secretive stage. Hofmeester is that most precarious of characters, the potentially unreliable narrator, whose inner voice firmly carries the pace and tone in a deceptively expansive manner that slowly reveals ugly undercurrents to the family’s life. As Hofmeester becomes increasingly wrapped up in Tirza’s impending departure for Africa with the boyfriend her father suspects is a terrorist, the plot carries the reader on a journey from Holland to Namibia and, most importantly, to the ugliest depths of the human soul. With its meandering pace, sometimes-grotesque characters, and unflinching look at some unsavory personality traits, this story is for the reader of the hard-to-like yet quite-well-written novel.