Reality Check: The Box by Gunter Grass

on Friday, December 17, 2010
I was pretty excited to get my hands on the latest instalment of Gunter Grass's memoirs, even more so because I had heard that this volume was stylistically more interesting, perhaps even with a fictional flourish. Alas, halfway through this short (especially short given the heftiness of Peeling The Onion) curiosity of a book, I was struck by a Solzhenitsyn-inspired Eureka moment. I actually don't really like Gunter Grass. Sure, I waxed lyrical in the past about The Tin Drum but, at the end of the day, he is kind of boring. Sorry Professor Graewe (my fantastic German Literature lecturer of yore), I want to like your hero but I just can't. And not because of his past, I don't really care about that. It's just that his turgid meanderings put me to sleep. I get it, Mr. Grass. You screwed around, had eight kids and wrote books of which you are rather proud. But this added nothing to your canon. When all is said and done, The Box will be a minor footnote, if it even makes it that far.

So without further adieu, here is The Box as rhyming verse.

I've come to believe the Nobel is a curse
For all of its winners grow gradually worse
After great revelations of Wafen SS
Grass comes in again and wants us to assess
Through the lens of his camera, an old fashioned box
This life in eight pieces is slight and a flop


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