August 20, 1989 |
"The work startles both in its density of detail and in its overarching anticipation of its own self-chosen task. The spectacle of Third World Poverty--its gaudy declaration of need--is by now surely too familiar a Western stereotype to generate any sense of novelty, but Grass' powerful meditation explodes the stereotypical in order to address the nature of the cliches in which he may be complicit."
July 21, 1985 |
Fiction, like freedom, is supposed to be in trouble. Most people, according to other people, want information, want logical methods for dealing with reality rather than literary means of escape. That's why, say these same other people, Lee Iacocca's auto biography outsells John Irving's novel by so many orders of magnitude. Many artists mourn the hunger for data but live with a corollary notion, accepting its limitation on their work: that imagination suffers when politics or urgency intrudes.
April 10, 2012
The people in Israel and Germany who are most outraged by Nobel Prize-winning author Gunter Grass' latest work have one thing in common: They think it's ridiculous, and possibly anti-Semitic, for Grass to assert a moral equivalency between Israel and Iran. Yet by overreacting to Grass' criticism, Israeli officials are acting like, well, Iranians. Grass, 84, is being lambasted in his native Germany over his poem "What Must Be Said," published last week in the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
April 14, 2012
The Times' editorial on Tuesday discussing Israel'sreaction to Gunter Grass' poem on a possible confrontation with Iran prompted reader Steven Zak of Sunland to write: "The Times argues that by 'overreacting' to Grass' poem, Israelis 'are acting like Iranians.' More accurately, The Times is acting like Grass, who defames Israel as a 'perpetrator' of 'recognized danger.' The Times does likewise by comparing Israelis with Iran's regime. "When Grass calls the established fact of Iran's weapons program 'unproven,' he sounds like the Iranians, who both deny the Holocaust and vow to repeat it. Anyone who thinks Israel's condemnation of such a man is 'the kind of reaction we'd expect from Iran's mullahs' is ignorant about how those mullahs deal with dissent.
February 6, 2000 |
"If I start a novel that begins this week in Berlin or Dusseldorf," Gunter Grass said on a visit to New York in 1965, "I always have to go back to the beginning of the century." So it had been with Grass' masterpiece, "The Tin Drum," which opened with the now-famous scene of the narrator's grandmother hiding an escaped convict beneath her skirts in a Kashubian potato field at the tail end of the 19th century. And so it is now, with the Nobel laureate's latest work, "My Century."
June 24, 2007 |
GUNTER GRASS has put himself in the line of fire again. The first time was when he served in the German army in 1944. This time, it is with the publication of his memoir, "Peeling the Onion," that the Nobel laureate has launched himself into a space that leaves him open to attack. The first time, he was the 17-year-old youth who "saw himself as a man, was interested in military hardware." Now he is exposing a crucial and damning detail of his past, one that he has long suppressed.