Not coming to terms with the past

From The Guardian:

Gunter460_5 Katie Price, eat your heart out. The real celebrity of last week’s Frankfurt Book fair was the Nobel laureate, Günter Grass. He was doing the rounds last week to talk about his new book, Die Box, another voyage into autobiography following 2006’s Beim Häuten der Zwiebel (Peeling the Onion). And the 81-year-old author (October 16 was his birthday) was swamped, buried in the attention. Photographers swarmed, fans were tearful to have met him, his publishers, gathered from around the world, were starstruck. Cosily dressed in a brown corduroy suit, nattily matched with a brown jumper, Grass took it all in his stride, happy to fit in a 10-minute chat if he could do it while puffing on his pipe. We headed outside so he could smoke; by the time we made it out of the hall, I had been elbowed and shoved aside by the human train which followed him all over the fair. He chuckled and found a space in which to conduct the interview, done under the eyes of a circle of fans, a couple of ready-to-pounce photographers and his publicist, who helped out when he couldn’t quite express what he was trying to say in his extremely impressive English.

He was good-natured about the attention, but relieved it was almost over. “I only come when I have a reason, and I’m only here for two days, which is enough.” His reason was the recent publication of Die Box, out in August in Germany but not due in English until at least the end of next year. In it Grass takes up the story of his life from where he left it at the end of Peeling the Onion, beginning with the publication of The Tin Drum at the age of 31, which catapulted him to the forefront of European fiction.

More here.