Jan. 25, 2013 by David Low
Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature, is the translator of Günter Grass’s From Germany to Germany, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2012.
In January 1990, just months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Günter Grass made two New Year’s resolutions: the first was to travel extensively in the newly united Germany and the second was to keep a diary, to record his impressions of a historic time. Grass takes part in public debates, writes for newspapers, makes speeches, and meets emerging politicians. He talks to German citizens on both sides, listening to their bewilderment and their hopes for the future. Ideas for stories take root—his novels The Call of the Toad and Too Far Afield.
From Germany to Germany is also a personal record. Grass reflects on his family, remembers his boyhood, and comments on the books he is reading, the drawings he is making, and the sumptuous meals he cooks for family and friends. The picture that emerges—not only of the two Germanys struggling for a single identity but of a changed world after the end of the Cold War—is engrossing, passionate and essential for anyone who wants to understand Europe’s new leading nation.