Regular readers know that one of my ongoing concerns has to do with memory–how we remember, what we do and don’t remember, and the strange, subtle ways one memory can link to another, then another and another, taking us in seconds from a mundane present moment back to something that happened decades ago. The fact that our minds work this way, running processes that we do not consciously control and perhaps cannot understand, is a source of endless fascination for me.
One of Germany’s greatest writers, Gunter Grass, has just published a book about memory. In Peeling the Onion, Grass tries to remember and understand the person he was sixty-plus years ago when he fought for Germany and Hitler in World War II. The book has caused a firestorm in Germany because of Grass’ belated revelation that he was a member of the Waffen S. S.
I reviewed the book this week for the Dallas Morning News. Check it out here if you like.