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 throughout his life. The emerging themes of the novel expose the periods when men made history and women's contributions went largely, in some cases gravely, unrecognized. Inventive, imaginitive and irreverent, this humorous, fundamentally brilliant novel highlights the value of modern-day myth and timeless legend.
An odd book, to put it mildly. Grass has his trademark humor and historical wisdom here. But the whole concept of the novel is something baffling - a talking fish gives advice to the reincarnations of a man and his cook-wife in the areas near Danzig, and the fish is accused by a gang of radical feminists that he has altered the course of history by instituting the patriarchy. There's also a lot of discussion on food, particularly potatoes.
I have no idea what to make of this, but I will return to it. And maybe on a full stomach, as Grass' writing makes me hunger.
Hmmm, well, almost every review I've seen of this book has some negative critique or another. I, on the other hand, found it a fabulous piece of fiction. This reincarnation creation myth is quite entertaining and serves as Grass' difinitive statement concerning history, feminism and yes, love. I'll leave it up to you to discover the rest.
I found it hard to get into but after trudging through the lengthy exposition, I couldn't put it down.
Grass brings to the conversation his life predilections: food and women, giving both the historical role that the masculine imperative has denied for centuries. Probably the luckiest day of history will be when we look back and restitute to women the powerful and creational principle that incarnate.
It is also remarkable the translation work by A. Saenz, giving to the Spanish version a loyal and beautiful resonance without precedent in other translations of The Flounder.