Oat God

Yesterday I got a glimpse of the Dutch writer Klaus Roman – not in person, sadly, but on the cover of a magazine. Arms folded, legs planted firmly apart: a strange smirk creeping across his disgruntled-baby face – it was the Klaus Roman I remembered so well. But what was he doing on the cover of a food magazine? And why was his picture accompanied by the text, ‘Oat What a Lovely War!’

It transpires that the author of such complex texts as The Ground Opened and the Sky Fell In (1987) and How We Lost the Things We Found Only to Reclaim Them in Theory (1989) has undergone a sort of transformation, from quasi-post-modern novels to a genre I can only describe as cooking-based-comedy. The writer who once thrilled us all with a forty page sentence describing the the digestive system of a whale is now to be found hawking a glossy hardback book called Porridge is Sexy, whilst trading cheap insults with a range of other essentially pointless amateur food writers. Oh Klaus…

One thinks, inevitably, of Martin Brünt, who went from writing primarily philosophical works with names like Hydroscopes of the Comfortably Tempered Promontory to children’s books with names like Mr. Gorilla Takes a Ride. See here for more.

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