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lorenzoberardi

The Library of Babel

A Spin-off of http://bookwormshead.blogspot.co.uk

Dog Years - Günter Grass, Ralph Manheim Arf...whoof...I did it!
But it wasn't that easy.

Now I feel like the dog printed in the front cover of this book and drawn by Grass himself. A dog with its tongue out after a long run all through unknown narrative woods.
Just like "Prinz" did, escaping from his famous black moustached owner in the siege of Berlin crossing river Elbe somehow.

Well, despite of its quick appearance "Prinz" the dog is the main character of this book standing as a symbol of quite many things:
freedom, stubborness, human stupidity, struggle of life, disobedience.

Those were the Dog Years. This book talks about them.
The novel is good and interesting, but technically is not a novel.
There are amazing and enjoyable parts as well as heavy and obscure paragraphs. You could look at the style used by Grass gere as a German way of the "stream of consciousness".
You won't find any Leopold Bloom here, though. But at least there is some brilliant irony.

"Dog Years" is undeniably a rather chaotic book, accumulating symbolism, historic references, peculiar ways of speaking and grotesque characters. And yet this novel was very stimulating way for my poor little brains albeit I would have preferred a clearer distinction among the different characters in this very original frame.
But, hey! We're talking about Guenter Grass, after all...

Anyway.
I confess how I skipped over many pages of this novel. It was necessary.
Besides, my Italian edition was printed in a very bad way, making the reading process strenuous and uneasy after page 80 (I had to bend the whole book for being able to read the end of each sentence on the even pages).

For those who are not prepared enough, I warn you:
this novel will probably make you stoned, but still is a goldmine of useful informations about life in that thin German/Polish line before the blast of World War II.
Just read it with a strong preliminary K-ration of patience and your tail will have its dance.