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stand-in stunt

Interesting revelation last week: turns out the book 'Stand-in' (reviewed here) was not written by Sieger Sloot at all but by Ernest van der Kwast. A textbook example of life imitating art, the book being about an actor standing in for writers. Actor Sloot simply stood in for writer Van der Kwast for a year.

Naturally this raises all sorts of questions on the nature of authorship and authenticity. Some of these are addressed in Van der Kwast's essay 'Being Arnon Grunberg' (in Dutch).

The story is complicated by the fact that the real motive behind the stunt was to imitate Arnon Grunberg, who has created alter egos before (Marek van der Jagt). When this failed to be picked up by critics (and really, the book is not all that Grunbergian), what remained was merely the stand-in stunt.

Ironically, the one difference between life and art, which makes comparisons with art forger Geert Jan Jansen or 'Being John Malkovich' fall rather short, is that the book's protagonist stands in for famous, household names. Whereas in reality, I doubt the average reader will care much whether 'Stand-in' is a Sloot or a Van der Kwast...



This won't be the most objective review of Sieger Sloot Ernest van der Kwast 's fast-paced and witty debut novel ' Stand-in ', though it may well be the first one in English... Update: Read this post about the book's stand-in… Read the full post »

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