Grass, who is best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum (1959), a seminal text in European magic realism, died on April 13, in the German city of Lübeck. He was a novelist, poet, essayist, dramatist, sculptor and graphic artist but his reputation was tarnished by his admission he had served in Adolf Hitler’s Waffen SS.
The Tin Drum was a satire of those, like his parents, who were seduced by Nazi ideas and the novel was decried as blasphemous pornography and banned in numerous dictatorships.
I cannot think of a higher praise for a writer’s work than to be banned by dictators.
And guess what? Anyone who calls for a book to be banned is a dictator.