cat and mouse by Gunter grass

Gunter Grass is a nobel prize winner ,a noted SDP part support ,he grew up in Danzig ,was in the ss during the war and in many respects along side Henrich boll is the best known of Germanys post war writers ,this book is the second in what is known as the Danzig trilogy .the first part being The tin drum a book dealing with the rise of nazis in Danzig ,a book I read in my teens ,the third part dog years I ve yet to read .The book focuses on a group of boys in danzig schoolmates,The main narrator is Pilenz ,is freind with THE GREAT MAHIKE ,a boy with a huge adams apple also a bit of a clown and the leader of the gang in some ways ,the boys play by the sea ,learning to swim ,playing in and around a broken minesweeper from th polish navy ,they see the u boats and there crews visit the school and give a talk  ,they meet girls get up to sexual adventures together.Mahike in the hitler youth attends miltary school .Joining the army becoming a tamk commander and going back to school to talk to them,but is refused he has won the iron cross,this was something he really wanted to do show his classmates he wasn’t the clown they thought ,so he returns to the minesweeper with Pilenz although there realationship has changed over time .

and one day after Mahlike had learned to swim ,we were lying in the grass ,in the schlagball field .I ought to have gone to the dentist ,but the wouldn’t let me because I was hard to replace on the team .My tooth is howling .A cat scauntered diaggonally accross the field and no one threw anything at it ,a few boys were chewing or plucking at blades of grass .

the opening of the book.

The book is part coming of age ,part anti war , friendship ,I did find it tough going in places ,also found the main characters hard to associate with at times also the book seems to drift in places ,there seemed a lot of hidden means referring to cats and mouses all the time .the book deals with how boys are attracth to war and how one freind is effected by his direct involvement .This wasn’t my favourite book by Grass .

October 2010


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