Book Reviews

Of All That Ends

This posthumous collection of Günter Grass (1927 – 2015) offers gentle, intimate meditations, illustrated by his own black and white drawings.

Grass apprenticed as a stonecutter, and later started drawing, and writing. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1990.

In one reminiscence, he recalls his start as a writer upon receipt of an Olivetti typewriter for which he had to hoard ribbons when computers replaced typewriters. He refused to use computers, much like Mordechai Richler of Canada.

He writers about his loss of senses of smell and taste, the pleasure of sex, and his teeth, all of which diminished his pleasures of life.

The he laments the loss of energy, and ability to travel.

In one of his anecdotes he explains in length how his wife and him ordered their custom-made coffins. Later both lay in them to see how they would fit.

Here he shows his German character in full by specifying the length of his coffin and its exact shape, including a specific requirement of what type of wood it hade to be.

Günter Grass was a uncompromising socialist, but bridged the chasm between post World War II completely capitalist Germany and his beliefs.

Of All That ends is an excellent compendium of short articles and fractured musings on his feelings and thoughts on aging.

Günter Grass, a novelist, poet, playwright. Illustrator, graphic artist, and sculptor, was multitalented, influential in German literature, and a personality whose ideas helped shape post World War Ii art.

Highly recommended.

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