Guenter Grass, German novelist, playwright and poet, was born on October 16, 1927 at Danzig, Poland. His father Willy Grass was a German and his mother Helene Grass was of Polish origin. He had his schooling in Danzig. He has been living in Germany since 1945.
‘The Tin Drum’ is his most famous novel. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.
Around 1970, I had the opportunity to learn German in my office premises. As a bachelor who had not much to do, I availed the opportunity and studied German. I studied up to the Second level of the Elementary course; for a time, my colleagues and myself used to converse in our half-baked German and I earnestly tried to master the language and got a lot of books. It was during this period that I was on the lookout for books by great German authors like Heinrich Boll, Herman Hesse, Thomas Mann and Gunter Grass. I picked up copies of English translations of ‘Siddhartha’, ‘Steppenwolf’ and ‘The Tin Drum’ from second-hand platform booksellers at Trichy, which I used to visit mainly for buying books and seeing Hindi movies. I also read a booklet of short-short German stories in the original.
Though I can’t say I liked the novels, I had the patience to read them till the finish. They were different, that is all I can say about them.
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