notes on dutch literature

Tirza

In Pick of the Week on March 15, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Tirza_Grunberg
By Thomas Bouwmeester After The Dinner: A Round Up of Newly Translated Dutch Fiction in The Millions.

Tirza is a story about the obsessive love of a father for his daughter and is one of the most renowned novels by Amsterdam-born, New York City resident Arnon Grunberg, who debuted as a novelist in 1994 and has since created a vast oeuvre of fiction, literary journalism, essays, and stage plays. Tirza was translated by
Sam Garrett and published by Open Letter.

Tirza revolves around Jörgen Hofmeester, for whom things aren’t going very well: he lost his job as an editor and all his savings after investing in a hedge fund. His wife left him, but suddenly returns after three years, shortly before their daughter Tirza is about to move out after graduating from high school.

Tirza is the apple of Hofmeester’s eye, and he can’t let her go. When Tirza introduces her boyfriend Choukri to him, Choukri’s strong resemblance to 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta occurs to Hofmeester, who starts to regard him as his “personal terrorist.” Later on, Tirza announces that she and Choukri want to travel to Africa. The three of them spend a weekend together at a farmhouse in the Dutch countryside before Hofmeester drops them off at the Frankfurt airport. The story reaches its apotheosis when Hofmeester, after not having heard from Tirza for a few weeks, travels to Namibia to look for her.

“Grunberg chronicles the mistakes of a morose Dutch bourgeois and constructs a delectable psychological thriller.” — Le Figaro

“With this novel, Grunberg advances slowly but surely toward the class of major authors who write lucidly about the incomprehensibility of human actions.” — Haarlems dagblad

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