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Headbirths or the Germans Are Dying Out –…
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Headbirths or the Germans Are Dying Out (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 1980; vuoden 1982 painos)

– tekijä: Gunter Grass, Ralph Manheim (Kääntäjä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
260377,307 (3.4)5
Harm and Dörte Peters, the quintessential couple, are on vacation in Asia. But wherever they are, they can't get away from the political upheaval back home. With irony and wit, Grass takes aim at capitalism, communism, religion-even reproduction; nothing escapes unscathed. Translated by Ralph Manheim. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:thatnerdyguy
Teoksen nimi:Headbirths or the Germans Are Dying Out
Kirjailijat:Gunter Grass
Muut tekijät:Ralph Manheim (Kääntäjä)
Info:Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1982), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 136 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
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Teoksen tarkat tiedot

Aivoituksia eli Saksalaiset kuolevat sukupuuttoon (tekijä: Günter Grass) (1980)

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näyttää 3/3
This was felt to be more of apolemic than a narrative. That's fine, nothing wrong with a rant every now and then. I think I finished this one in a single sitting, some unknown afternoon in the Highlands. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Gunter Grass was a favorite writer of mine for a long time, though recently I've read little he wrote. Headbirths is fun to read but doesn't quite combine its various genres -- novel, essay, plan for a film script -- in a coherent way. Set at the end of 1979, the massive changes in German history since that date might make Grass's essay interesting for some, obsolete for others. The combination of genres made it fun to read, if eventually disappointing.
  V.V.Harding | Apr 21, 2015 |
This could have been Grass's magnum opus, and I think he knows it. Who better, after a lifetime of standing for the right things in what turned out (cf. the publication of his memoir Peeling the Onion and the Waffen-SS controversy that ensued) to be complicated, not to say shady, ways, to bring the neuroses of the past screaming into the present with the biggest of all German premises: eighty million Deutsche and a billion Chinese switch places. What happens then? Geopolitical surrealism! Or, the Germans disappear, decide to leave the earth through voluntary extinction (and a crass Anglo wouldn't be able to resist the dig and would certainly bring euthanasia into the picture, but Grass takes the more even-handed, less sensationalistic approach and extrapolates in that incorrect, but compelling, Malthusian way--they just stop having kids and that's the end). A proud people leaves the earth as a symbol and protest--our lifestyles are unsustainable; the Germans expiate Hitler in the most German way: with some insane, beautiful conceptual nonsense, a gift to mankind.


A headbirth, ja? Like Athena from Zeus's skull, the abstract offspring that worries and enervates and, so Grass would tell us, ruins a people for the hearty business of human life. I see it as two novellas.


Grass himself saw it as a screenplay, and so what we get is a slim volume where his travels through Asia in 1979, on the verge of the billion-Chinese milestone and the German election in which Helmut Schmidt's SPD banished the cryptofascists under Franz Josef Strauss, with his wife and the director of The Tin Drum are paralleled by the holiday of Harm and Doerte Peters, a couple of teachers, children of '68 (is that a French-only reference? When was the antifa stuff really getting rolling? How long the age of Baader-Meinhof?), who bum around, talk about their feewings and get glum about their, Germany's, humanity's prospects, and say yes-to-baby no-to-baby and on their own timelines, each get quite mystic.


And because our putative film needs action, there is a twist of superimposed plot revolving around a liver sausage and some dark boys on motorbikes, a missing friend in Jakarta, etc., etc., and Grass not only gives us the first work of literature I know that reads like that underrecognized oral form, the summary plot movie rec (or whatever less grotesque name you can come up with--you know, "Oh man, did you see Lost last night? The prisoners escaped, and there was a polar bear, and a nuclear explosion, and then the guy's like, and I won't ruin the end . . . ."), but he also weaves and unpicks and rewinds and waves away like smoke in the most intriguing ways, writing himself and his own writing process into, well, his own writing process.


Which is very interesting. But what a shame to waste it on the story Guenter Grass was born to tell and born to tell (magically but) straight--and what a shame to waste the story on it. Harm and Doerte could have been one skein in a freaky worldwide alt-history caper, or they could have been a psychorealistic little couple drama of the kind we all know and live--and that latter would have been an ideal venue for Grass to bring in the authorial metapreoccupations. You know? "That's what could have happened. But what about this?" So what you have here is very interesting while you're reading it, but ultimately melts into air. And yes, I like the melancholy appropriateness of that--a people of grand narratives, watching themselves and their Mitteleuropaeische story come to an end and not even a glorious, not even a cathartic one, and having to get up the next day and go to work in full knowledge of the teeming energy of the Asiatic masses (and it gets a little weird here but hell, Grass is an old man, and also if you ignore the mild exoticising, it's true,of course--there's a lot more energy in Asia these days). Grass's tentative and backtracking story reflecting that, and there being perhaps at least a little bitter or Pyrrhic comfort in it (compare contemporary, touchy, nationalistic Russia, evidently a model case of not knowing how to let a grand national narrative wind down in its own shape and time)


But, as I have pranced around at great length, the book as written ultimately feels insubstantial. Like interesting notes. Like an unfinished sentence, the foundation for something more.


Also, since I've been doing this lately it seems, here are two gems. On fascism:


"Since Harm and Doerte have not known fascism, the word springs more quickly to their lips than either is prepared to tolerate in the other. Such a handy word. Always fits a little."


On the Germans, and this'll give you a good idea of Grass's project:


"They always want to be pathetically less or terrifyingly more than they are. They can't leave anything alone. On their chopping block everything gets split. Body and soul, practice and theory, content and form, spirit and power--all so much kindling that can be put into neat piles." ( )
3 ääni MeditationesMartini | Sep 5, 2009 |
näyttää 3/3
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

» Lisää muita tekijöitä (4 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Günter Grassensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetcalculated
Gielkens, JanKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Megen, Hans vanKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Naaijkens, TonKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
Tiedot saksankielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
Henkilöt/hahmot
Tiedot saksankielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Tärkeät paikat
Tärkeät tapahtumat
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Omistuskirjoitus
Ensimmäiset sanat
Sitaatit
Viimeiset sanat
Erotteluhuomautus
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Alkuteoksen kieli
Tiedot saksankielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Canonical DDC/MDS

Viittaukset tähän teokseen muissa lähteissä.

Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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Harm and Dörte Peters, the quintessential couple, are on vacation in Asia. But wherever they are, they can't get away from the political upheaval back home. With irony and wit, Grass takes aim at capitalism, communism, religion-even reproduction; nothing escapes unscathed. Translated by Ralph Manheim. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

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