Cover image for The flounder
The flounder
Grass, Günter, 1927-2015.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1978]

General Note:
"A Helen and Kurt Wolff book."

Translation of Der Butt.
Format :


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It all begins in the Stone Age, when a talking fish is caught by a fisherman at the very spot where millennia later Grass's home town, Danzig, will arise. Like the fish, the fisherman is immortal, and down through the ages they move together. As Grass blends his ingredients into a powerful brew, he shows himself at the peak of his linguistic inventiveness. Translated by Ralph Manheim. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

Author Notes

Günter Wilhelm Grass was born on October 16, 1927 in the Free City of Danzig, which is now Gdansk, Poland. He was a member of the Hitler Youth and at the age of 17, he was drafted into the German army. Near the end of the war, he served as a tank gunner in the 10th SS Panzer Division. He was captured by the Americans and forced to visit the newly liberated Dachau concentration camp. After his release from a POW camp in 1946, he worked in a potash mine and as a stonemason's apprentice and studied painting and sculpture in Düsseldorf.

His first novel, The Tin Drum, was published in 1959. It was adapted into a film and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1979. His other works included Cat and Mouse, Dog Years, From the Diary of a Snail, The Flounder, The Rat, and Crabwalk. He also wrote a memoir entitled Peeling the Onion. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999. He was also a political activist and liberal provocateur. He advocated for environmental conservation, debt relief for poor countries, and generous policies regarding political asylum. He died on April 13, 2015 at the age of 87.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

""Flavored with dill, stuffed with prunes, and awash with beer, The Flounder is a kind of Germanic One Hundred Years of Solitude, a Baltic Ulysses (at least in scale) and fantastic in any language.""
The Washington Post Book World Based loosely on Grimm's
""The Fisherman and His Wife,"" this triumphant blend of folk tale and contemporary story takes place over the course of nine months, during which the wife of the narrator becomes pregnant and is regaled with tales of the various cooks the fisherman has met