donderdag 30 oktober 2014

Arnon Grunberg: Tirza


The last book I read in October is Tirza.
This novel won the 2007 Libris Literatuurprijs  and the De Gouden Uil 2007. Both are very prestigious prices in Belgium and The Netherlands.
Tirza is translated in English, so my international readers can enjoy this one too.
My copy has 430 pages and I got it second-hand.

In this novel we follow Jörgen Hofmeester; devoted father to Ibi and Tirza and husband to his absent wife who lives on a boat with her childhood boyfriend. His life is about perfection, control and keeping up appearances. Fatherhood is a task, a duty and it is his only purpose in life. He wants to be the perfect father for his youngest daughter; Tirza. After hearing again and again how he caused Tirza’s illness he decides to let her be and not to control her life any more. Because Tirza will leave on a trip to Africa, he wants to throw her the best graduation party ever.

This was a rather difficult novel to finish.
It is tragic and sobering.
I felt shamed and humiliated reading about his actions and the events that take place. My heart sunk every time something went wrong or every time he said something racist etc.
I wanted to keep on reading but at the same time I dreaded it because it is so tragic.
The questions behind this novel are urgent though; is Hofmeester a singular case or is he like everyone else? Is he like us or not? Is there a beast in every one of us? What if we lose control over our lives?
It’s about life and how we are disillusioned living it. How we are all alone after all.

Happy reading.

Relaxing on a Saturday night.