Arnon Grunberg
Moedervlekken image
Lebowski, Amsterdam


Otto Kadoke works as a psychiatrist at a crisis center: his task is to keep people with a death wish alive. One day, when he visits his old, needy mother, one of her Nepalese caretakers opens the door wearing nothing but a bathroom towel. The psychiatrist, always bend on sticking to protocol, is overwhelmed by feelings of love for the girl; as a consequence, from now on he will have to arrange taking care of his mother by himself.

Kadoke has no children, is middle aged, but not unattractive to physicians in training: he has managed to seduce several of them. After yet another transgressive encounter - this time with a suicidal young woman – both Kadoke’s professional and private life start falling apart: his mother’s house is turned into an outpatient crisis center.

Birthmarks is a ruthless novel about a son’s love for his mother and father, and vice versa. A book about two people unable to live – or die – without each other.

Also available as an audiobook.



Lebowski, Amsterdam 2017.

Nijgh & Van Ditmar, Amsterdam 2023.

Book launch

The book was presented in private in the psychiatric hospital of the AMC in Amsterdam on the 6th of May 2016. Public presentations were organized in Antwerp (Mother's Night) on the 7th of May 2016 and in Amsterdam on the 8th of May 2016. Public interviews in bookshops were in The Hague (May 7th 2016) and Arnhem (May 9th 2016) and Grunberg was a guest in the Liberal Jewish Community on the 12th of May 2016.