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Crabwalkby Gunter Grass
"His novels have always been closely tied to actual events, but lately he seems not to be charting the political current so much as swimming along with the tide. This would be an unfortunate circumstance for any writer, but it is particularly so with regard to Grass, who is, more than any other contemporary writer, uniquely positioned to expose the falsity of the new debate over German victimhood....He, of all people, should have pointed out that the question of whether German suffering should be given priority in the understanding of World War II is fundamentally misguided. For it is a question he had already answered." Ruth Franklin, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & Reviews
Hailed by critics and readers alike as Günter Grass's best book since The Tin Drum, Crabwalk is an engrossing account of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff and a critical meditation on Germany's struggle with its wartime memories.
The Gustloff, a German cruise ship turned refugee carrier, was attacked by a Soviet submarine in January 1945. Some nine thousand people went down in the Baltic Sea, making it the deadliest maritime disaster of all time. Born to an unwed mother on a lifeboat the night of the attack, Paul Pokriefke is a middle-aged journalist trying to piece together the tragic events. For his teenage son, who dabbles in the dark, far-right corners of the Internet, the Gustloff embodies the denial of Germany's suffering. Crabwalk is at once a captivating tale of a tragedy at sea and a fearless examination of the ways different generations of Germans now view their past.
"A stunning work of historical fiction." Booklist
"A writer who refuses to avert his eyes from unpleasant truths, [Grass] remains an eloquent explorer of his country's troubled 20th-century history." Publishers Weekly
"Grass has constructed a penetrating, scrupulous, imaginative novel." Los Angeles Times
"Grass brings the horror of the event alive, and the narrator's (presumably Grass's) ruminations shine a revealing light on German society, east and west, since the war." Library Journal
"[U]nsettling....Grass as lucid, sardonic, and unsparing as always." Kirkus Reviews
"With his stylishly unsentimental prose, Grass portrays a dysfunctional Germany, still split, unhealed, unable to come to terms with a past that — like the sunken ocean liner — contains both the innocent and the guilty....Crabwalk scuttles between past and present, building to a horrible conclusion — which is no less chilling for its inevitability..." Norah Labiner, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Günter Grass, witnessing from a glut of personal experience...holds true in Crabwalk to his narrator's dismay as he faces himself and the chaos, if not the 'toilet,' of our history." Joseph McElroy, The Washington Post Book World
Hailed by critics and readers alike as Gunter Grass's best book since The Tin Drum, Crabwalk is an engrossing account of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff and a critical meditation on Germany's struggle with its wartime memories.
"Günter Grass once again dazzlingly analyzes Germany's past and present, while hinting soberly at its future."--The New York Times Book Review
In January 1945, a Soviet submarine attacked the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German cruise ship turned refugee carrier, sending some nine thousand people to their deaths in the Baltic Sea. Born to an unwed mother on a lifeboat the night of the attack, a middle-aged journalist is trying to piece together the tragic events. While his mother sees her whole existence in terms of that calamitous moment, he wishes their life could have been less touched by the past. But for his teenage son, who dabbles in the far-right corners of the Internet, the obscurity of the Gustloff's fate embodies the denial of Germany's wartime suffering.
Crabwalk is at once a captivating tale of a tragedy at sea and a critical meditation on Germany's struggle with its past.
Born in Danzig, Germany in 1927, Günter Grass is the widely acclaimed author of plays, essays, poems, and numerous novels. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.
About the Author
Born in Danzig, Germany, in 1927, Günter Grass is the widely acclaimed author of plays, essays, poems, and numerous novels. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999. He lives in Germany.
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