Crabwalk In one of Crabwalk 's more pungent passages, Günter Grass (Nobel-winning author of "The Tin Drum") compares the history of his native Germany to a… Crabwalk In one of Crabwalk 's more pungent passages, Günter Grass (Nobel-winning author of "The Tin Drum") compares the history of his native Germany to a… Fiction Harcourt
Book Review

Crabwalk (2014)

Gunter Grass, Crabwalk | SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS The author's latest explores history and politics
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS The author's latest explores history and politics
EW's GRADE
A

Details Writer: Gunter Grass; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Harcourt

In one of Crabwalk's more pungent passages, Günter Grass (Nobel-winning author of ''The Tin Drum'') compares the history of his native Germany to a backed-up toilet: Certain things, he explains, simply won't go down. Thus his present-day narrator, sad-sack journalist Paul Pokriefke, is forced to ''crabwalk'' across a stubbornly undead 20th century in an attempt to explain the link between his mother's frighteningly adaptable nationalism, his son's chillingly academic descent into right-wing fanaticism, and a forgotten nautical disaster -- the 1945 torpedoing of the German refugee carrier Wilhelm Gustloff, which took 9,000 people to the bottom of the Baltic and remains the deadliest naval tragedy on record. ''Crabwalk'' exhibits an almost Vonnegut-like vibe as it documents, with darkly funny paranoia, the ornery persistence of discarded, discredited narratives in the mass-media bitch session that is the information age.

Originally posted Apr 16, 2003 Published in issue #705 Apr 18, 2003 Order article reprints