Here is a question posed by Gunter Grass: Can those drowned on the losing side in a war be classed as victims?
Of course it is not as simple as that but one of the main aims of this book does seem to be to make you question your own attitude to who deserves pity and who is worthy of damnation.
On top of that conundrum there is the ongoing battle between the extreme right wing and those prepared to engage in a debate representing the Jewish side of that argument.
In the middle Grass describes a man trying to make sense of his own life by writing about his past. Instead his life continues to fall apart and the one constant in it, his mother, seems to be the cause of the majority of his problems.
Last chunk tomorrow…