Book

Arnon Grunberg

Phantom Pain

‘If the laws of economics apply to anything, then it’s to emotions,’ is one of Robert Mehlman’s many one-liners. Mehlman, the central character in Phantom Pain, is tormented by writer’s block, his only successful publication being a cookery book called The Polish-Jewish Kitchen in 69 Recipes, which he wrote purely for money. He briefly became world famous when his book was interpreted as a positive take on coming to terms with the Holocaust – only Arnon Grunberg, or perhaps Woody Allen, could come up with a joke like that.

After Mehlman’s death his son, for whom he never showed much concern, receives a package containing unpublished fragments of a novel. They tell of hilarious episodes from Mehlman’s life, portraying a man seeking to escape from himself. Sheltering behind cynical humour, incapable of genuine contact, all that matters to him as a writer is the question: ‘Is there a story in it?’

The title refers not only to the pain Mehlman thinks he can feel in his paralyzed limbs but the pain caused to the son by his father’s tragedy. It also symbolizes the dilemmas and fears of the writer, described so effectively by Grunberg in this absurdist novel about a failed author.

Phantom Pain is Arnon Grunberg’s most complex and accomplished novel to date.

The Economist

Translations

Arnon Grunberg

Arnon Grunberg (b. 1971) debuted at the age of 23 with the novel Blauwe maandagen (Blue Mondays, 1994), which describes the world of prostitution with wry humour and was an instant success. His next two novels, Figuranten (Silent Extras, 1997) and Fantoompijn (Phantom Pain, 2000), strengthened both…

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Details

Fantoompijn (2000). Fiction, 256 pages.
Words: 83,000
Copies sold: 85

Publisher

Nijgh & Van Ditmar

Spui 10
NL - 1012 WZ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 760 72 10

E-mail:
j.spooren@singeluitgeverijen.…
Website:
http://www.uitgeverijnijghenv…

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Literary agent

Arnon Grunberg Agency




Tel: +31 6 22 44 43 10
E-mail:
emile@arnongrunbergagency.com
Website:
http://www.arnongrunbergagenc…

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