Günter Grass and Cees Nooteboom are grand old men of European literature, and we should be grateful to Harvill Secker and MacLehose Press for bringing us their responses to a key event in European history: the reunification of Germany. However, I warn you that I crawled out of Roads to Berlin, in particular, exhausted and only occasionally enlightened.
Grass is more engaging, because he is more engaged. This is not just because he is German, whereas Nooteboom is a Dutch observer passing through; it is to do with their natures as writers. Nooteboom dismisses his own early novels as escapism, implying