Arnon Grunberg
De asielzoeker
De asielzoeker image
Nijgh & Van Ditmar, Amsterdam

The Asylum Seeker

Christian Beck is a translator of instruction manuals in Göttingen, Germany. His deadly ill girlfriend, The Bird, wants to marry an asylum seeker from Algeria to get him a permit. Beck has long ago decided his own needs are not important and doesn’t make any trouble of the asylum seeker sleeping with his girlfriend in his own bed. Beck is satisfied with a stretcher under the coat rack. The events that leaded him to this philosophy take place in something what Beck calls his former life, when he and The Bird were living in Eilat, Israel. There he was a writer that had set himself the goal to unmask all of the illusions that people nourish. His preoccupations lead to a crime in the local brothel where he is a daily customer. Beck takes his responsibility, but he doesn’t have to go to jail.

Read a chapter in English here.

Also available as an audiobook.

Nijgh & Van Ditmar


Nijgh & Van Ditmar, Amsterdam 2005

AKO / Maarten Muntinga, Amsterdam 2006

De Morgen, Brussel 2009

Nijgh & Van Ditmar, Amsterdam 2010

Nijgh & Van Ditmar, Amsterdam 2015


The play The Asylum Seeker by theatre group NTGent in Ghent, Belgium, premiered at the 21st of October 2005. Directed by Johan Simons.

NNP, a group of students of Dutch language at the University of Leiden, played The Asylum Seeker. On the 9th of May 2007 it premiered in Leiden. Directed by Martijn Kager.
A special day was the 12th of September 2008, when Arnon Grunberg was in the audience. He was interviewed by Jaap Goedegebuure afterwards.

Nanne Meulendijks made her graduation project based on The Asylum Seeker.