One hundred stories, each named after a year this century. In one, Erich Maria Remarque gives his views on World War I, in another former Nazis reflect on the good old days, while a third is on the fall of the Berlin Wall from a dead woman's point of view.
I can understand--though I have only read one other book by Grass--that this is not considered as one his best works. But it is still a good read. This is history through German eyes, but it is still universal and generally human enough to be interesting to anyone. Whatever really important happened during that century is there, and only few times it happened that a story left me cold, not knowing anything about the subject of the story in question.
But, there is a but... Like said by the author's mother (dead by then) in the last 'year' of the book: "...now I should tell you all what it was like in the old days and even before that. And what else would it have been but war, war all over and then again with just a little break in between." It truly was. The first half of the century was like preparation for the big one and then the next thirty or so years were spent trying to recover from it all; trying to figure out what on earth happened and what should we do about it. And that is a good question any time.