Phantom pain

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Secker & Warburg, Jul 15, 2003 - Fiction - 277 pages
17 Reviews
Once a literary novelist of some respectability, now brought low by the double insult of obscurity and crippling debt, Robert G. Mehlman is a man in need of money and recognition, fast. It is, of course, to cookery writing that he turns. A practised decadent, a habitual spendthrift and a serial womaniser, he has, ostensibly, all the right qualities. But the path to fame is never a smooth one. Phantom Pain consists largely of the bitterly funny but unpublished manuscript of Mehlman's autobiography. In it, he tells the parallel stories of his decaying marriage and his puzzling affair with a woman he meets by chance and who accompanies him on the road. Their journey takes them on a chaffeur-driven, midnight run from New York to Atlantic City where they gamble away most of Mehlman's remaining funds and then north, to Albany, where his unlikely salvation, and the inspiration for his book Polish-Jewish Cuisine in 69 Recipes, lie. Framed by a son's account of his famous father, this novel-within-a-novel is a hilariously black account of a writer's fall and his subsequent rise. Phantom Pain has all the characteristic mixture of slapstick and dark despair that has made Arnon Grunberg one of the most interesting, certainly the funniest, and arguably the best Dutch writer working today.

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Review: Phantom Pain

User Review  - Jim Elkins - Goodreads

Here is a book I read last year, and forgot to review at the time. Since then I have entirely forgotten it. Even the back cover fails to remind me. It has vanished from my memory, and to revive it I ... Read full review

Review: Phantom Pain

User Review  - Michael Flick - Goodreads

Slapstick meets literary fiction. A novel-wiithin-a-novel, a son's memories of his father and his father's memories of the ups and downs of being a "famous" writer. All Grunberg is worth reading. He ... Read full review


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About the author (2003)

Arnon Grunberg is also the author of the novel "Blue Mondays," which was a bestseller in Europe. Grunberg was born and raised in Amsterdam and currently lives in New York City. He contributes widely to newspapers and magazines, including "The New York Times,"

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