23 August 2006


Mark Thwaite and Dan Green offer measured responses to the Günter Grass controversy--better responses than anything I've yet read from the mainstream media.

Thwaite also offers thoughts on the situation of Aharon Appelfeld, which I believe apply to that of Grass as well:
Condemning Appelfeld for his silence, which has been rendered into support for Israeli violence, seems as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Perhaps it is useful to point out the partiality of his understanding of the "human condition", about which he has written so wonderfully well, and right to condemn his silence and the politics it suggests. But this only confirms that Appelfeld's novels are better than the man, a paradox one should remember as we read his best novels and ignore (what we imagine to be) his politics. Knowing that Appelfeld has perhaps failed to understand the full import of his own enigmatic writing makes me wish he was as good a reader as he is a writer. But good readers are as rare as good writers. And good men rarer still.

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