Monday, September 8, 2008


Gunter Grass, 234 pp.


This one word best describes the atrocity that was passed off as a book. Okay wait, lets bring it back a second and let me clarify.

Crabwalk was written by 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature winner Gunter Grass in 2002. The book itself is not bad at all, in fact the story line is fantastic. The story starts out with a journalist, just know to us as the Narrator, and his understanding of his coming of being through a website he found on the Internet. As we soon find out he was born just after a terrific crash of the "Strength Through Joy", a German classless cruise liner created and named after Wilhelm Gustloff. As he learns more of the crash and his past from the fanatic website he soon realizes that the site is run by his estranged son.

The story deals with many issues such as Neo-Nazism and the importance of martyrs to ideals. On whole, if I was able to read German there would be little to criticize on the story. Yes, I said read German. This story had to be translated into English for reading here in the States.

For a Nobel Prize winner, you would expect to have an excellent translator to transpose your writing style. Instead he must have gotten the cheapest translator out there to completely obliterate his work. The writing style has been turned to a dry, non-flowing style that is almost incomprehensible. Also there were instances where there were in three lines five different timeline changes, without any way of knowing the timeline was moved under your feet except you becoming quickly lost in a matter of a paragraph. Constant rereading is all you can do.

If you speak German, you are lucky as hell to be able to fully enjoy this story. Reading German media reviews online show that the non translated version was a fantastic hit epically displaying the characters and the story in the way a Nobel Prize winner would be expected to. If the only German you know is "Volkswagen" (or if you did not even know that Volkswagen is German) then either learn German or do not waste your time.

And Gunter, if you ever read this: Fire whoever translated it. I will pay for a new one.

-Maj. MajorMajorMajor

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