An immortal fisherman catches an immortal talking fish in the Stone Age, and they live eternally until modern times in Germany, bound by the man's insatiable pregnant wife and entanglements with various female cooks. The narrating fisherman uses his predicament to comment on gender and nutrition in society, as well as gloat over the fish's second capture and subsequent trial by women for his historical role in subjugating women.
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.
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.
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.