Tooth and Nail
“Bets you either win or lose. There’s no such thing as a draw. What did you expect from me, anyway?”
“Not much,” Roland replies. “You don’t understand the economics of the game.”
After a few minutes, he texts her again: “Yes is fine, no is OK too. That’s the economics of the game.”
Roland Oberstein, professor of economics at Fairfax, is a father of one and happily divorced. His girlfriend, Violet, lives in Amsterdam and is a designer of ladies’ handbags. She is driven to despair when Oberstein seems indifferent to her unfaithfulness.
During a conference on the Holocaust, Oberstein meets the American Lea, biographer of camp commander Höss. A shared interest in genocide proves the basis for an intense friendship.
But then, at the urgent request of his ex-wife, Oberstein returns to the Netherlands to help raise their son. There he becomes acquainted with the unexpected consequences of knowledge transfer.
In Tooth and Nail, the marketplace of love is regulated by punishment, even where no guilt seems to exist.
Grunberg has written a story about forbidden love, perverse pleasure, unfaithfulness and the abuse of power, set against the backdrop of the academic world in America and the Netherlands and New York City politics.
Read a chapter in English here.
Arnon Grünberg reads from his novel Mit Haut und Haaren.
© Pascalle Bonnier & Ingeborg Schavemaker