Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013
From Germany to Germany: Diary 1990 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), by Günter Grass
As the East Bloc crumbled and Germany prepared to reunify, Günter Grass was the curmudgeon at the party. The author of The Tin Drum, and other novels that wrestle with German guilt, dislikes diaries but kept one in 1990, a year of rapid change. From Germany to Germany includes personal asides on food and family, but carries on a running critique of a too-hasty process of unification, which he saw as a massive land grab by West German business interests. Skeptical of fine sentiments and high-sounding speechmaking, scornful of capitalism and communism, Grass’ eyewitness account of traveling across Central Europe at a crossroads in time is saved from bitterness by his unfailing sense of irony.