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My Century

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  1,017 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
In a work of great originality, Germany's most eminent writer examines the victories and terrors of the twentieth century, a period of astounding change for mankind. Great events and seemingly trivial occurrences, technical developments and scientific achievements, war and disasters, and new beginnings, all unfold to display our century in its glory and grimness. A rich an ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Mariner Books (first published November 30th 1998)
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Some of my favourite books are almost impossible to review.

Dante's The Divine Comedy, Goethe's Faust, and other classics: what can I possibly add to the long run of sentences they have inspired since their publication? And yet, they mean so much to me, I share the urge to write about my relationship to them.

Other favourites, and almost all Günter Grass' novels fall into this category, defy objective evaluation on my part, as they are too closely linked to my own experience of growing up in West
Oct 08, 2015 Jorge rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aunque este no parece ser un libro sustantivo en la obra del recientemente fallecido y ganador del Nobel de Literatura en 1999, Günter Grass, no podemos permanecer indiferentes ante la elegancia, meticulosidad y lucidez de su prosa.

Este libro está formado por una serie de viñetas o cápsulas o relatos en miniatura (¿o serán mini ensayos novelados?) que recogen algún momento acontecido en Alemania durante el siglo XX. La obra incluye una viñeta o relato por cada año que conformó el siglo XX, cont
Liz Janet
Apr 04, 2015 Liz Janet rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
One-hundred years of German history, one short passage per year, each told from a different perspective told through changes in time and literary style.
Greg Brozeit
Nov 25, 2014 Greg Brozeit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mein Jahrhundert (My Century) is difficult to pigeonhole. Grass writes short pieces about episodes in German history for each year of the 20th Century. What really makes it special, though, is how Grass creates a “history from below” montage. Most of the pieces are about how regular people see and experience the events around them. Grass writes from the viewpoints of males, females, old, young, and in-between representing virtually every German dialect, region, social class and political persuas ...more
Jan 13, 2009 Allison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
Didn't finish this one just yet (got to 1950), but I may never, so this is considered "read". I had trouble with each new story/chapter getting into the story right away, so they pretty much all took two (or sometimes three) reads, but once the history had been looked up and the story re-read, they usually felt pretty interesting. It's a lot of work to read this book if you're not a German history afficionado.
Sep 15, 2016 Yanela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un gran repaso de historia alemana aunque por momentos hay temas demasiado "locales". Gran juego de narraciones y narradores que enriquecen y animan a seguir leyendo. Tuve que recurrir a Internet para ubicar ciertos acontecimientos. Si uno se quiere acercar a la cultura alemana por cualquier razón (un viaje por ejemplo) es un buen libro para hacerlo, de otra forma yo no lo leería.
Lenny Wick
A brilliant idea I wish we could commission writers in other countries to do before much of the feel of the 20th Century disappears, yet it comes off as slightly less than the sum of its parts. I have a good grasp of German history and studied there a bit some years ago, but was helpless in the face of many of his references. The density of the stories and their immediacy - in that he rarely stops to explain who is speaking or what the subject is - adds to the difficulty. But I appreciate the st ...more
Wally Beddoe
The book My Century was written by Günter Grass and is a mostly-fictional account of events covering a one-hundred year period (1900 through 1999). The setting for the stories is primarily Germany.

Initially reluctant, as I’m not a big fan of fictional writing, I ended up really enjoying Grass’ storytelling through characters that he either respected or who were significant to him in some way at one time or another. It became clear to me that whether fiction or not, Grass was telling the history
I'm not sure what I'm supposed to think about this book.
It sure wasn't what I expected - a collection of short stories, all taking place in one year of the last century and describing something fitting that time - but rather an odd combination of memoir-like texts, none of which makes any sense on its own.

But I have to say that even seeing the whole picture, I failed to get the point.
It might be because I am too young, or because the authors' style isn't "my cup of tea" or maybe I'm just not
Lorenzo Berardi
Feb 07, 2010 Lorenzo Berardi rated it really liked it
One hundred short stories with a very high average level.
The short format of these miniatures helps. In this case, being concise avoiding digressions makes Grass' way of writing even better.

Each narration you will find here is related to one of the years between 1900 and 2000. Different point of views and many interesting perspectives on the main events happened in Germany and worldwide in the last century.

The author is able to put himself in the shoes of schoolboys, old women, sport reporters,
Frank O'connor
Apr 01, 2012 Frank O'connor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: flash fiction fans
This is a book about the individual in and through time. It is a staggering technical achievement. Each year is represented as a beautiful Flash piece, with an authentic voice, layered themes, a pertinent subject (such as technology, social events, politics, sport) and a strong story. The cumulative impact of the approach is to demonstrate time both from the perspective of the situated individual and the omniscient god simultaneously. As time passes, the nature of this book changes. Reading it w ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting story of the German story through the 20th century. Told from the point of view of 100 short narratives it captures the fact that despite all the differences, there is sort of one German story. When you fit the pieces together it is amazing all the experiences of this country and its people. It is fascinating to be living here in a country that was so different not that long ago. I really enjoyed the writing style, although it took a few chapters to realize what the literary techniqu ...more
Jun 27, 2015 Judith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ein wirklich faszinierendes Buch über deutsche Geschichte. Jedes Kapitel ist eine Kurzgeschichte oder ein Meinungsbild aus einem anderen Jahr. Ein paar Kapitel sind dabei, die weniger aussagekräftig waren oder zu denen mir der Bezug fehlte, dafür waren andere so stark, dass ich sie direkt mehrmals lesen musste.

Ein vergnüglicher Grass. Nicht-Deutschen nicht unbedingt zu empfehlen, weil einerseits die Sprache verzwackt sein kann und andererseits doch sehr viel Geschichtskenntnisse von Nöten sind,
May 02, 2008 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Great writer - one of my favorites of all time is the intensely anti-nazi book "The Tin Drum". However, dude didn't find if necessary to disclose the fact that he was in the Waffen SS when 17 until a couple of years ago. I don't think this makes him a hypocrite. World War 2 is a real moral clusterfuck, especially for someone like Grass, who was drafted against his will at age 17.
Rachel Hunter
I found this book very difficult to read. Having little knowledge of German history, the format of writing from a different person's perspective in almost every chapter made it difficult for me to follow. I did learn a few things, and will try a different book by the author, but this was very hard to get through.
Jul 07, 2009 Clare rated it really liked it
What an incredible way to learn about the happenings that our history books don't touch on. Each chapter covers one year--and one event or sentiment--of the 20th century. Loved it.
Christina Roman
Dec 07, 2016 Christina Roman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are two ways to read this book. It is so rife with historical references, the quiet names and dates and places that truly make up history more than the most recognizable touchstones, that the only way to understand them all is with google at the ready. Or in my case, I chose to simply be swept up in the current of time, and that seems just as effective. Especially in our current climate. This could very well be a book about any country, at any time.

To read this during the first days of Pr
Marisa Fernandes
"O Meu Século" de Günter Grass é daqueles livros díficeis de nos agarrar... E a mim, não me conseguiu agarrar. Não me conseguiu sequer prender. Li-o porque tinha de o ler!

Para além do tempo, os tais cem anos (o livro começa em 1900 e termina em 1999), e o espaço, entenda-se a Alemanha, não se percebe qual o fim condutor da obra. O narrador assume, por vezes. o papel de uma mulher, outras vezes, de um casal e parece-me (porque a escrita nem sempre é muito clara, o que não nos permite ter certezas
Aug 14, 2011 Delphine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In deze roman verkent Günter Grass de geschiedenis van zijn moederland Duitsland in de 20ste eeuw. Het was in alle opzichten een bewogen eeuw: twee wereldoorlogen, de Koude Oorlog, de woelige jaren zestig, de nog prille bekommernis om het milieu vanaf de jaren tachtig. Onder het motto "geschiedenis houdt van herhaling" distilleert Grass uit elk afzonderlijk jaar een specifiek voorval: een anekdote, een detail, een groezelig feiten uit het leven van illustere of onbekende Duitsers. Pas door de sa ...more
Mar 04, 2010 Victoria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: germanlanguage
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Sep 10, 2016 Sama rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Aug 10, 2009 Mazel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essai
Né en 1927, Günter Grass, lauréat du Prix Nobel de littérature en 1999, revisite notre siècle finissant, en cent textes brefs chacun accompagné d'une aquarelle originale.

Cette série de croquis ne prétend pas constituer une grande fresque ni retracer même sommairement l'Histoire, pourtant constamment présente.

Grass choisit pour chaque année un événement petit ou grand, mais bien daté, et un narrateur différent qui, sur le moment ou longtemps après, l'évoque avec sa voix propre, dans sa perspect
¿Porqué dejar a los lectores tan pendientes de tragar lo que se acaban de leer que posponen el resto del libro para continuar con los relatos de Mi siglo de Günter Grass?
Leerlo es una pequeña tortura, no porque sea malo, al contrario, cada corto relato te engancha y te hace descubrir un ritmo que solo los grandes escritores consiguen, pero se me ha hecho eterno terminarlo, no es un libro para sentarse y leerlo durante horas, aunque se quiera, aunque exista el tiempo, no se puede porque si lo hac
Lavinia Petrache
Jan 13, 2013 Lavinia Petrache rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I rarely leave a book unfinished, honestly. But this one was such a waste of time... As much as I respect Gunter Grass, this book was really boring and had nothing valuable in it.

I removed the "history" tag from my shelves for this book because it has nothing to do with history. It's a collection of 100 *very* short stories (3 pages each!), one for each year of the xxth century. This could have been a great experiment in my opinion if the 3 pages dedicated to each year would have been non-fictio
Jan 13, 2013 lavinia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I rarely leave a book unfinished, honestly. But this one was such a waste of time... As much as I respect Gunter Grass, this book was really boring and had nothing valuable in it.

I removed the "history" tag from my shelves for this book because it has nothing to do with history. It's a collection of 100 *very* short stories (3 pages each!), one for each year of the xxth century. This could have been a great experiment in my opinion if the 3 pages dedicated to each year would have been non-fictio
Jimmy Tarlau
Interesting book that covers 20th Century Germany. Each chapter represents a year and is 2-4 pages long and tells a story about an incident or an event in Germany from that year from an individual's perspective. You might read about someone digging tunnels underneath the Berlin Wall in the 1960s to a reporter remembering his coverage of the African Desert campaign in the 1940s. I probably missed a lot of the connections (e.g. the Kessler Twins from the 1950s) but it was for me interesting to thi ...more
Christopher Roth
Clearly written by a writer closer to the end of his life than the beginning, and by that I don't mean he's wise--by now we know all about how the man who made it his business to make Germany confront his own past could not confront his own--but that he seems tired. I read this in short spurts, and I don't think it would have been as enjoyable to read it in a long sitting or two. As a consequence, I think I missed some of the connections between the stories that he laid clues for. But with so li ...more
Horia Bura
I have never considered Grass a great writer. This book only confirms my initial opinion. In fact, I do not know exactly which is more boring: the history of Germany in the twentieth century or his writing. I am inclined to think that the latter is the reason why this volume is, at times, so utterly dull, although it has some good, almost enjoyable parts. Besides its structure (one story per year), the only good thing I will probably remember over the years about this book is the writer's abilit ...more
Kimba Tichenor
This book is an interesting blend of fiction and 20th century European/German history; each chapter focuses on a specific year and offers a vignette of a significant political, cultural, literary or economic development. It would be interesting to use this book as a launch point for a history course on twentieth century European history -- not because of the actual information it includes, but because of the many allusions it makes to various historical events and literary, cultural, and artisti ...more
Sep 24, 2010 Cody rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
err accidentally added this review to wrong book. if you are a dad and like hearing old people talk about wars you will probably like this book. seriously boring stuff, and hwen he writes as a woman its like the same as him writing as man except its more twee, Not Cool At All. i won't remember what any of these vignettes were about in 3 months but the ones about being factory works were cool, as were ones about writing polkas / oom pah pah songs, but they were few and only in like the 1920s and ...more
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German Historical References 1 9 Feb 03, 2009 07:22PM  
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Günter Wilhelm Grass was a Nobel Prize-winning German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, and sculptor.
He was born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland). Since 1945, he lived in West Germany, but in his fiction he frequently returned to the Danzig of his childhood. He always identified himself as a Kashubian.

He is best known for his first novel, "The Tin Drum" (1959)
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“And when the sun goes down and the mood comes upon me, I'll watch the play of the colors on the water, yield to the fleetly dissolving images, and turn into pure feeling, all soft and nice.... ” 18 likes
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