Books: A Turbot de Force

THE FLOUNDER

by Günter Grass; translated by Ralph Manheim

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 547 pages; $12

As Germany's finest living novelist, Günter Grass has clowned his way to his nation's most serious truths. The Tin Drum and Dog Years are masterpieces of comedy and verbal invention about the culture and history that suppurated as the Third Reich. In other novels, plays and poems, he dealt with the Hitler aftermath of political divisions and haunted affluence. One mark of Grass's success is the uneasiness he caused the average German of his own World War II generation. In...

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