Nooteboom found the sort of fears that Grass expresses everywhere. “One question was on everyone’s mind at the time, and by everyone, I mean Germans themselves most of all: ‘What kind of country are we becoming?’” he writes. “Students at my readings would ask, ‘Aren’t you frightened of us?’ No, I wasn’t, but I was concerned that they thought I should be, as though they did not trust their own country.” Why not? Germany’s history certainly plays a role. “Never again” shall there be a Hitler, a Nazi revival, a nightmare such as Auschwitz, is the constant refrain that colours German political debate. But there is something else. “Germany is unfinished,” he says. “It is ancient, but it is still being made, and that ambiguity makes it fascinating.”
more from Quentin Peel at the FT here.