Crabwalk by Gunter Grass

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Synopsis

Günter Grass has been wrestling with Germany's past for decades now, but no book since The Tin Drum has generated as much excitement as this engrossing account of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. A German cruise ship turned refugee carrier, it was attacked by a Soviet submarine in January 1945. Some 9,000 people went down in the Baltic Sea, making it the deadliest maritime disaster of all time.
Born to an unwed mother on a lifeboat the night of the attack, Paul Pokriefke is a middle-aged journalist trying to piece together the tragic events. While his mother sees her whole existence in terms of that calamitous moment, Paul wishes their life could have been less touched by the past. For his teenage son, who dabbles in the dark, far-right corners of the Internet, the Gustloff embodies the denial of Germany's wartime suffering.
"Scuttling backward to move forward," Crabwalk is at once a captivating tale of a tragedy at sea and a fearless examination of the ways different generations of Germans now view their past.

Winner of the Nobel Prize
 

About Gunter Grass

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G?NTER GRASS was born in Danzig, Germany, in 1927. He is the widely acclaimed author of numerous books, including The Tin Drum, My Century, Crabwalk, and Peeling the Onion. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.
 
Published January 1, 2003 by Faber and Faber. 248 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, War. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Crabwalk

Kirkus Reviews

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Mitigating humor comes from Paul’s decision to “sneak up on time in a crabwalk, seeming to go backward but actually scuttling sideways,” often teasing the reader by veering off at climactic moments to ratchet up the tension before coming to his bleak conclusion: “Never will it end.” Grass as lu...

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The Guardian

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Mother and her parents had their best holiday on the Gustloff.

Apr 28 2003 | Read Full Review of Crabwalk

The Guardian

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Crabwalk by Günter Grass translated by Krishna Winston 234 pp, Faber, £16.99 There has been a pattern in Günter Grass's career of little scraps of books following on the heels of bigger productions: Cat and Mouse after The Tin Drum, The Meeting at Telgte after The Flounder, and now Crabwalk afte...

May 10 2003 | Read Full Review of Crabwalk

The Guardian

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Then Paul is asked by the author "of that mighty tome, Dog Years" - ie Günter Grass - to write a "report" on the sinking of the Gustloff and its aftermath.

Apr 17 2004 | Read Full Review of Crabwalk

The Guardian

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Crabwalk by Günter Grass Faber £16.99, pp234 Günter Grass's rather bleak new novel centres on the sinking in 1945 of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German ship crowded with refugees.

Mar 23 2003 | Read Full Review of Crabwalk

Publishers Weekly

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Grass also weaves in details about the Russian sub commander, Aleksandr Marinesko, but the decidedly modern touch is the inclusion of Pokriefke's son, Konrad, an unbalanced loner who becomes deeply involved with the Web site dedicated to commemorating Gustloff's "martyrdom" and the vessel Hitler ...

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Star Tribune

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Paul Pokriefke, born on a lifeboat to an unwed 17-year-old mother as the ship sank, spends his life in the shadow of the torpedoed Wilhelm Gustloff.

Apr 05 2003 | Read Full Review of Crabwalk

Entertainment Weekly

Thus his present-day narrator, sad-sack journalist Paul Pokriefke, is forced to ''crabwalk'' across a stubbornly undead 20th century in an attempt to explain the link between his mother's frighteningly adaptable nationalism, his son's chillingly academic descent into right-wing fanaticism, and a ...

Apr 18 2003 | Read Full Review of Crabwalk

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