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Max: A Play

by Günter Grass

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A play that satirizes the political confusions of both youthful activists and middle-aged believers in gradual reform. Translated by A. Leslie Willson and Ralph Manheim. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book.
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Freedom of choice and second helpings, that's what they mean by democracy.

Max: A Play is a stage adaptation of Grass' novel Local Anesthetic. I read the novel almost 20 years ago. The primary tension in the novel as well as the play is between generations, a pair of students and a pair of their teachers, separated by largely twenty years. One of the students wishes to protest the Vietnam War by incinerating his dog in a posh area of West Berlin. There was an echo and rippling vertigo while reading a second version of the events, one almost a generation or so after my initial encounter. Debate ensues about action, resistance and the folly of activism. Matters then appear quaint -- or at least sincere.

There is a fifth character, a dentist and like Lear's Fool - he has all the best lines. One of the teachers harbors a secret, she attempted to denounce a neighbor during WWII: she is plagued by this memory. It is fair to think that the author did as well.
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  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
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A play that satirizes the political confusions of both youthful activists and middle-aged believers in gradual reform. Translated by A. Leslie Willson and Ralph Manheim. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book.

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