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img918 img919A stunning book in drawings and words would indeed be the correct description of this book Show Your Tongue by Gunter Grass. The drawings bleed off the page and have somewhat been reduced in this post. Yes, it is social commentary, a travel diary and a bit of morals all packed into one. Actually I would classify the book as a true artist book where the text and graphics are linked into one experience, a bit like being there with Gunter Grass. The work is unlike anything else by this writer and the kudos should go to the publisher for keeping the price low and taking a risk that this type of work would sell less than any other work by Grass.

The author is no stranger to controversy in speech and attitude and the recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature. His major work the TIN DRUMwritten in a magic-realist style has us enter into a surreal world, the novel was subsequently made into a movie in 1979 winning a deserved Oscar at the 1980 Academy Awards for best foreign language film.


Third Crest Printing July 1964


From Grass comes the following quote: “Art is uncompromising and life is full of compromises”. Perhaps Grass compromised too much of himself long ago and this work was his way of hiding behind someone sticking out his tongue!

The book is well worth the read, in my opinion. Of other interest here is the interview he has with the Paris Review where he discusses this book (link above). With unabashed honesty, he admits that he lied in his youth, as we all have done probably, and later as a writer at times.