Gdansk 1989. A polish woman, a guilding specialist, meets a German man, a professor in art history. A walk together in a graveyard gives rise to an ambition to establish a Cemetery of Reconciliation as a mark of the times and their spirit of unity...The satire is sharp, the analysis precise, and Grass is still expert in drawing out the painful comedy of human behaviour and the pitfalls that await good intentions' - The New Yorker. From the Nobel Prize-winning author of The Tin Drum comes a satire of european politics and a love story.
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(198mm x 128mm x 15mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
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US Kirkus Review »
An aging German art-historian, Alexander Reschke, meets a Polish woman, Alexandra Piatkowska, a fine-arts re-gilder, at an outdoor flower-stall in Gdansk, Poland (once Danzig). Widower and widow finds themselves talking, then together visiting a local cemetery - where the tragedy of the displaced German Danzigers (like Reschke) and the battered Poles who bore Hitler's fury seems crystallized. Over a home-cooked meal of sauteed mushrooms and wine, the old pair come up with an idea - a cemetery of reconciliation where native Danzigers, Polish and German, could find final rest. The idea also leads to a romantic affiliation of these two oldsters - but it's downhill from there, as the idea becomes one under which third-party German commercial imperialism recapitulates Nazi land-grabbing, a greed that post-Soviet, impoverished Poles are helpless to counteract. What a pain in the butt Grass must be to the Germans! Though the sour little fantasy here goes on too long - losing sight of the charmingly seedy lovers (and of a delicious Bengali entrepreneur who sweeps through the continent selling rickshaws to Europa's traffic-paralyzed cities) in favor of bureaucratic complication - Grass's naysaying verve is infectious. His metaphors - the cemetery, the gold leaf, the rickshaw - are as light as air but trenchant. Spun like a jazz solo, the book seems a lot more casual than you later realize it is - which is one of its choicest pleasures. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Gunter Grass
Gunter Grass, born in Danzig in 1927, is Germany's most celebrated contemporary writer. He is a creative artist of remarkable versatility: novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, graphic artist. Grass was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.