The Box by Günter Grass (Translated from the German by Krishna Winston) - review by Michael Hulse

Michael Hulse

Rags of Whimsy

The Box


Harvill Secker 195pp £16.99

This slender second volume of memoirs takes Günter Grass from the Sixties to the Nineties. Vulgar curiosity can be reassured right away that, when it was published in German two years ago, the book was found to contain no revelations to match the Waffen-SS membership disclosed in Peeling the Onion. You’d have heard if it did. Neither, for that matter, does a third volume published this year, Grimms Wörter, which Grass has declared his last autobiographical book.

In fact, The Box tells us very little at all about Grass. Dressed in rags of whimsy, it begins: ‘Once upon a time there was a father, who, having grown old in years, called together his sons and daughters – four, five, six, eight in all.’ The children,

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