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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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. Grass, who has described ‘my tendency to bring out into the open what had too long been swept under the carpet’ had chosen, late in life – he is 79 – to deploy his greatest defence, his power of narrative, to reveal on his own terms the darkest corner of his past.

Soon he had three, one in Denmark, one in Portugal and one in Germany.

Can it really be true that after the war, in Dusseldorf, playing in a band, Louis Armstrong turns up one night and joins in? But I’m depressed when onionn talks about the war, or when he chooses to skip some very important parts, like what happened to his family while he was awa Overcome with emotions, I have a hard time putting his memoir down.

The most attractive feature of this narrative for me was the modesty with Grass describe his success. Hardcoverpages. 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. That part of this book, the first half or two thirds, is absolutely fascinating. This may be because I have grss connection with Grass the sculptor, poet, novelist, man, particularly.

The tale is presented using the peeling of the layers of an onion as a metaphor.

Review: Peeling the Onion by Gunter Grass | Books | The Guardian

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.

Memory is the onion of the title: During the Second 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.


There is a kind of plain-spoken and rueful candour that is apparently entirely outside Grass’s gift; perhaps it can only be done by Anglo-Saxon writers.

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review ‘s biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Autobiografical Trilogy 3 books. Sometimes the loudest narratives are the ones untold. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole.

Memory contradicts itself; pedant that it is, it will have its way. Not so much “peeling the onion” as “applying the varnish”. Bertolt Brecht has a famous poem from”Germany, pale mother” Helma Sanders-Brahms later used gubter words as gunger title for a film. He believes the devout Catholic soldier whom he befriends in the PoW camp may have been the young Pope Benedict, Josef Ratzinger – the details fit – but his sister, to whom he tells this story later, ‘doesn’t believe my stories on principle’.

Now I remember, now I forget

It’s as if is a big container where Everything is thrown in. 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 gunyer it was onon in Germany—reveals Grass at his most intimate. Grass does not mention the Holocaust often, but when he does, the book strikes a nerve. That being said, he’s not that apologetic.

Germany’s radical conscience of the Cold War years, the Danzig-born champion of the Poles, the righteous polemicist who had torn at Germans’ denial of their collective memory of Nazism, had suppressed the crucial fact of his personal complicity. View all 4 comments. It seems to have been the fault of the Olivetti typewriter that he received as a wedding present. It was so much easier to cry in company. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Divorced inhe remarried in Want to Read saving….

During the Second World War, Grass volunteered for the submarine corps at the age of fifteen but was rejected; two years later, inhe was ppeeling drafted into the Waffen-SS. But he’s a frustrating guy; you can see how he was one of those who didn’t think to be critical of German policies. Coming clean now, his adversaries charged, was no more than calculation – controlling the damage before others exposed the truth.


As another reviewer said here, a literary master like Grass can easily attempt to manipulate his readers into sympathizing with him and forgiving him. One has the sense that the author is talking of himself almost objectively, in the third person, a trick he uses in The Tin Drum.

Peeling the Onion – Wikipedia

View all 12 comments. Peeling the Onion may be an unsatisfactory defence from a public intellectual of his unacknowledged past, but, as a demonstration of a literary will, the novelist’s last testament, it is in many ways a masterpiece.

Taken prisoner of war by the Americans. La forma barocca e pesante.

Confessions of a super Grass

One of the best I have read this year. It does impart a peculiar tone to the narrative.

I think it’s boring to judge him about his lack of criticality as an adolescent, and much more interesting to take the opportunity to understand how this happens.

I was moved by his memoir. When this was made public last summer, it peelng all over the papers and airwaves in Germany for weeks.

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 th Reading this intriguing memoir, I wondered why Grass wrote it.

Open Preview See a Problem? 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.

Grass is wearing SS uniform; does he understand its significance? Grass controls his story through metaphor.