Review by DANIEL JOHNSON

PEELING THE ONION
BY GÜNTER GRASS, TRANSLATED BY MICHAEL HENRY HEIM
HARVILL SECKER, 432pp, £18.99

SUPPOSE YOU ARE A VERY FAMOUS writer who has made a great name for himself as the only man in a nation of liars and hypocrites to tell them the truth about themselves and their shameful past. Suppose, though, that you have not told the truth about yourself. Not the whole truth, anyhow. What do you do?

This was Günter Grass’s predicament. Having put Germany back on the literary map after the war, he absolved his contemporaries of guilt in order to denounce the fathers and grandfathers who had led them to perdition.

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