Günter Grass

Günter Grass

Günter Grass

Günter Grass (1927–2015), Germany’s most celebrated contemporary writer, attained worldwide renown with the publication of his novel The Tin Drum in 1959. A man of remarkable versatility, Grass was a poet, playwright, social critic, graphic artist, and novelist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.

cover image of the book The Living Statue: A Legend

The Living Statue: A Legend

by Günter Grass

Translated by Michael Hofmann

At the end of the 1980s, a writer who very much resembles Günter Grass passes through East Germany on a book tour and visits the Cathedral of Naumburg with its famous twelve donor statues. He invites the sculptor’s models to dinner—and they come, not as ghosts, but just as alive as they were in the thirteenth century. Toward the end of dinner, after drinking an icy Coca-Cola, the model for the famed beauty Uta von Naumburg declares she has to go to work: she's a living statue.

As he continues touring around Europe, the writer looks for Uta and her donation basket outside every cathedral he passes. At last, in Frankfurt, he sees her in front of a Deutsche Bank and the two have a meeting with staggering consequences. As Grass said, “on paper everything is possible,” and in this tale he gleefully erases the line between life and death, present and past.

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