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William C. Altreuter
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The news of Gunther Grass' death got me thinking about post WWII German writers, a group I cannot claim to have a great deal of experience with. I've read The Tin Drum, but that's it for Grass. The other guy I have some passing familiarity with is Heinrich Böll, who was more to my taste back when reading modern European literature was a thing that I did. (That's Grass on the right, Böll on the left, and John Dos Passos in the middle in the lighter colored jacket.) If you have a few minutes sometime, and you are in a library, look up "Murke's Collected Silences", which is pretty funny as stories by German Catholic existentialists go. If I could read German I might have another go at Grass-- it must have been a complicated thing to have lived and written the way that he did, having been what he was. Unfortunately, one of the things that I concluded when reading modern European literature was a thing that I did was that German seems to translate into English really badly. Since I can't read it the way he wrote it I'm going to give The Flounder a pass.

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