NY Times review of autobiography, "Peeling the Onion", by Gunter Grass
An excerpt from "Peeling the Onion" (from harcourtbooks.com)
PEELING THE ONION
By Günter Grass
“But it may be that this description of the slaughter is no more than an after-the-fact, staged image, because I had left my cellar window post before the fatal shoot-out and had seen nothing, wanted to see nothing,” he writes in “Peeling the Onion,” a memoir filled with as many could-have-happeneds and might-have-beens as a dozen tales by the Brothers Grimm.
“Peeling the Onion” is a verbally dazzling but often infuriating piece of work, bristling with harsh self-criticism, murky evasions and coy revisions of a past that, Mr. Grass steadfastly insists, presents itself to his novelist’s imagination as a parade of images and stories asking to be manipulated.
Nothing is what it seems, especially to the author, who in this chronicle of his first 32 years, from his childhood in Danzig to the publication of “The Tin Drum” in 1959, often describes himself in the third person and treats himself as a fictional character in a story subject to memory’s endless editing.