Peeling the Onion has ratings and reviews. In this extraordinary memoir, Nobel Prize-winning author Gunter Grass remembers his early life, from his. Günter Grass’s memoir was published last summer in Germany to a chorus of controversy over the author’s service in the Waffen SS. But now. Peeling the Onion – Günter Grass – Books – Review JULY 8, When pestered with questions, memory is like an onion that wishes to be.
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Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Michael Henry Heim Translator. In this extraordinary memoir, Nobel Prize-winning author Gunter Grass remembers his early life, from his boyhood in a cramped two-room apartment in Danzig through the late s, when The Tin Drum was published.
During the Second World War, Grass volunteered for the submarine corps at the age of fifteen but was rejected; two gras later, inhe was instead drafted int In this extraordinary memoir, Nobel Prize-winning author Gunter Grass remembers his early life, from his boyhood in a cramped two-room apartment in Danzig through the late s, when The Tin Drum was published.
During the Onlon World War, Grass volunteered for the submarine corps at the age of fifteen but was rejected; two years later, inhe was instead drafted into the Waffen-SS.
Peeling the Onion
Taken prisoner by American forces as he was recovering from shrapnel wounds, he spent the final weeks of the war in an American POW camp. After the war, Grass resolved to become an artist and moved with his first wife to Paris, where he began to write the novel that would make him famous. Full of the bravado of youth, the rubble of postwar Germany, the thrill of wild love affairs, and the exhilaration of Paris in the early fifties, Peeling the Onion — which caused great controversy when it was published in Germany — reveals Grass at his most intimate.
Now I remember, now I forget
Published June 25th by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Peeling the Onionplease sign up.
This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [How “fictional” is this book? I know, that the book is an autobigrophy, yet while reading it, i was wondering how many fiction could be peeping.
See 1 question about Peeling the Onion…. Lists with This Book. May 18, Jonfaith rated it it was amazing. They had tried doing it by themselves in her room with a cheap onion, but it wasn’t the same. You needed an audience. It was so much easier to cry in company. It gave you a real sense of brotherhood in sorrow when to the right and left of you and in the gallery overhead your fellow students were all crying their hearts out.
Not to sound like a hungover Schopenhauer, but decay and disagreeable ends are to be expec They had tried doing it by themselves in her room with a cheap onion, but it wasn’t the same. Not to sound like a hungover Schopenhauer, but decay and disagreeable ends are to be expected, aren’t they?
When Herr Grass acknowledged that he’d been in the SS, my knees did feel weak.
I did call most everything into question, then I kept on. Grass was in NYC shortly thereafter, he gave a reading from Peeling The Onion and ;eeling best friend Joel attended, bought gjnter copy and had the author sign such.
I was moved peeping his memoir. I suffer from being human myself. Dark times place everything in crisis. Normal metrics distort and blur. Dec 07, Helen rated pee,ing really liked it Peelinh Gunter Grass died last night, and I am in mourning.
Discovering his writing was like discovering a new uncle, one who spent WW2 on the wrong grads of the war. I read this book aboard an El Peelnig flight to Israel, where those of us who knew and loved my mother were gathering at the cemetery in Beit Shemesh to dedicate the headstone in her memory. Mom lived through many of the same events that Mr.
Grass describes–though from the other side of the border. While he was idolizing Nazi submarine commande Gunter Grass died last night, and I am in mourning. While he was idolizing Nazi submarine commanders and singing songs with the Hitler Youth, while he was enthusiastically volunteering to join the German Navy, Mom was running for her life, escaping from SS roundups of Polish Jews. Peeling the Onion reveals, on page after page, that The Tin Drum is largely an autobiography, as seen through the distancing lens of a poet.
This makes it even more miraculous; how many among us could take the events of our own lives and shape them into a metaphor for a whole country? He confesses to everything. Yes, he was in the SS as a seventeen-year-old private. Yes, he, along with most of Germany, happily supported Hitler. Though he knew the Jews were being peellng from Danzig, he never wondered where they were going. This, in fact, is his greatest regret as he looks back at that complacent young man growing up in Nazi Germany; he never asked any questions about anything.
This beautiful book, as poetic as anything fictional he has ever written, details the chain of events that turned Gunter Grass from an obedient SS soldier into one of the great voices for healing in the last century. He accomplishes this by pulling back the covers and exposing what is hidden in the dark, in a voice that is by turns funny, grieving, sly, sexy, sacrilegious, haunted, and finally, unforgettable.
View all 12 comments. Oct 29, Shane rated it really liked it. Reading this intriguing memoir, I wondered why Grass wrote it. To expiate himself from the crimes of the Waffen SS to whom he had been attached at the tender age of 17? To pin down grss before a fading memory lost them forever?
Or to take the high road and cling to the claim that he never fired a shot during the war, but was shot and bombed to hell and back as a member of a peelinf German army in the dying months of WWII, and therefore deserving to hang on to his Nobel Prize for Literature th Reading this intriguing memoir, I wondered why Grass wrote it.
Or to take the high road and cling to the claim that he never fired a shot during the war, but was shot and bombed to hell and back as a member of a defeated German army in the dying months of WWII, and therefore deserving to hang on to his Nobel Prize for Literature that everyone wants to take away from him because of his infamous past associations?
Motives apart this memoir is truly a portrait of the consummate artist as a young man, and a primer on the conditions that gave rise to his art.
Grass uses the onion metaphor for memory, peeling back the layers that sweat and bring out tears. He also uses the opposite symbol of amber that freezes objects within as it encases translucently, like memory frozen around certain events. Towards the end of the war, the illusion of the glorious Nazi Germany unravels for young Grass, again like the proverbial onion, and he defies the administration by pissing into the coffee he delivers to his senior SS staff leaders.
If the world is making a case that Canadian Omar Khadr was brainwashed as a child to be a killer, then we have to cut young Gunther some slack. He even played cards with a fellow inmate, one Joseph Ratzinger, while in prison — perhaps that should buy him some additional indulgences! I was intrigued by the life described by Grass in post-war Germany, from its bombed-out, black market-ridden blight in to the flourishing of art, material wealth and order that quickly followed despite the occupation by Allied forces and the partitioning of the country into East and West.
In this shift, Grass quickly graduates from brain numbing mine work to gourmet cook to jazz drummer to art student to sculptor to poet to novelist, in Dusseldorf and later in Berlin – a great re-integration from a wounded POW suffering from hunger for months on end. The final part of the book reveals the images that led to his creation of the character Oskar Matzerath, in The Tin Drum, the novel that launched his career as a Nobel Prize winning writer.
Oskar epitomizes the damaged child of Germany who emerged between its two wars and is a collage of different people and situations that Grass encountered during those early postwar years: In the end, Grass leans on his faulty memory for escape from thornier issues and mixes up sequences while still recounting key events with exacting detail, slumping into third person whenever the memory is too painful. A great book chronicling the making of a writer, if you can forgive the man of the crucible that forged him.
Nov 20, Ava rated it liked it. As in the peeling of an onion, one layer leads to the next, but all are part and parcel of the whole, which is his life.
The style is almost free-flowing reminiscing, but in the end Grass masterfully wraps it all together as if carefully closing up the onion layers he had slowly peeled away.
Guntet feels like he is speaking directly to me. Jul 10, Jafar rated it really liked it. This was a very interesting read after The Tin Drum.
You slowly see how some events of the novel were influenced by his own life, and how many characters of that novel were based on the real people in his life.
Peeling the Onion by Günter Grass
This was far better. Grass tells the story of his eventful life in some really great writing. Grass caused a controversy with this book by revealing that he had served in Waffen-SS for a short period towards the end of the War. As another reviewer said here, a literary master like Grass can easily attempt to manipulate his readers into sympathizing with him and forgiving him.
We do stupid things. We end up with contradictions. We try to hide it. And we falter morally. Almost gave up on mister Grass and his most peelling style of writing, especially during the rather cumbersome part about his war experiences. In the end though, I feel like this is a very special book by a very interesting author. Grass has lived an artists life which I imagine might be virtually impossible to live nowadays, living through the worst of times only guntter come out on top through the pursuit of his many hungers, which include women, art and food.
Throughout the book, Grass is peeling h Almost gave up on mister Grass and his most peculiar style of writing, especially during the rather cumbersome part about his war experiences. Throughout the book, Grass is peeling his onion, which is a sort of metaphor for the exploration of memory. He’s exaggerating throughout, sometimes inventing versions of stories and other times immediately admitting to his own faulty memories.
He tells of his time as a young man in the Hitlerjugend, his struggle to find a job after the war and the making of his artistic career. It makes for fascinating reading, often about love, politics and social issues, but most of all about regret: Grass does not mention the Holocaust often, but when he does, the pewling strikes a nerve.
In the end, though, ‘Peeling the Onion’ is just a wonderful memoir, much like that of Elias Canetti, relating an incredibly rich life and thus constituting a genre of its own. We can learn a lot from books like this, I’m sure. A very high 3,5 out of 5.