Pipe-smoking Nobel Prize winning author Gunter Grass died this month, at 87.
He was a controversial writer, often thought of as Germany’s conscience, and honoured for his determination to revivify his country’s literary scene post-World War II. Yet he also confessed to serving in the Waffen-SS as a younger man, a particularly brutal Nazi group. Germans, he often said, must deal with the horror of their mass murder of Jews and other “undesirables”. The Tin Drum (1959) is his most well-known book (get it via an inter-library loan).
– April 16, 2015