15-12-15

Garth Risk Hallberg

 

Onafhankelijk van geboortedata

De Amerikaanse schrijver Garth Risk Hallberg werd geboren in Louisiana in december 1978 en groeide op in Noord-Carolina. Hij bezocht de middelbare school in Missouri en studeerde aan de Washington University in St. Louis en de New York University. Zijn werk is verschenen in Prairie Schooner, The New York Times, Best New American Voices 2008, en, het vaakst, in The Millions. Zijn novelle “A Field Guide to the North American Family” werd gepubliceerd in 2007. Hij woont in New York met zijn vrouw en kinderen. In oktober 2015 verscheen zijn roman “City of Fire” waarvoor hij, zittend in een bus in New York, in 2007 de eerste ideeën kreeg.

Uit:City on Fire

“Those first few weeks of grief counseling, Charlie took the LIRR in. He was always late, though; invariably his train would get hung up in the East River tunnel. He couldn’t tell how much time had passed unless he asked other people—his dad’s watch still lay in a coffin-shaped box in his underwear drawer—and they were already looking at him funny because he was doing his nervous humming thing. The stares only made him more nervous, which led to more humming, and when he came out of the subway he’d bolt the last five blocks to the doctor’s and arrive sweaty and short of breath, sucking on his inhaler. Dr. Altschul must have said something to Mom, because after he got his driver’s license, in May, she insisted on his taking the station wagon, as she’d insisted on the counseling in the first place.
The office was on Charles Street, in the half-basement of a brownstone you wouldn’t necessarily have known was anything other than a residence. Even the discreet plaque below the buzzer—All appointments please ring—made no mention of specialties. This was probably for the peace of mind of clients (patients?), so no one in the waiting room would know what you were there for, who needed board-certified grief counseling and who needed whatever it was Dr. Altschul’s wife (also, confusingly, named Dr. Altschul) did.
Honestly, that Dr. Altschul should be married at all was a mind-bender. He was the kind of bosomy overweight man who could make even a beard look sexless. Charlie kept trying to memorize the doctor’s zippered cardigan, so that he could determine at the next session if it was the same one. But as soon as he’d settled in, Dr. Altschul would sort of tip back in his large leather chair and place his hands contentedly on his belly and ask, “So how are we doing this week?” Charlie’s own hands stayed tucked under his thighs.We were doing fine.
Which could mean only one thing: Charlie was still in denial. For eight or ten weeks now, he’d been resisting the pressure of Dr. Altschul’s questions, the Buddha-like invitation of those flattened but not knotted fingers. Charlie focused instead on the oddments of the therapist’s desk and walls—diplomas, little carved-wood statuettes, intricate patterns woven into the tasseled rug. He’d had the suspicion, from the very first, that Dr. Altschul (Bruce, he kept telling Charlie to call him) meant to vacuum out his skull, replace whatever was there with something else.”

 

 
Garth Risk Hallberg (Louisiana, december 1978)

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