Arnon Grunberg: Goede mannen (Good Men)

The latest addition to my website is Arnon Grunberg‘s Goede mannen (Good Men). Geniek Janowski is Dutch, albeit with a Polish father and German mother. Because of his father he is known known as Polack to everyone including his colleagues in the Heerlen C firefighting squad. He and his colleague stick together both at work and in their private lives and consider themselves good men. Polack also considers himself a good man and always strives to do the right thing. Sadly he often fails, as do his colleagues . His oldest son, Borys is difficult. He has no friends or interests and does not want any. When aged twelve, he starts defecating in his pants, Polack and his wife, Wen, struggle. Polack ends up buying a decrepit donkey for the boy, that seems to work but, ultimately does not. Wen is tired of his strong and silent approach, Borys dies and the younger son, Jurek, is sullen. Polack tries various solutions but nothing seems to work, nothing gets him back on track. Being a good man for his colleagues seems to be easy as they consider themselves good men though they sometimes are not. For Polack, it is more difficult and he just cannot find the right way. God, romantic love, parental love, straightforward lust, friendship and collegiality do not help so what hope is there?

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