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John Irving pays tribute to Günter Grass in Berlin

“It will be difficult, if not impossible, that be other author could write campaign speeches of Willy Brandt, a novel about the Thirty year War and a book where the origins of the potato are in Prussia”.



The American novelist, John Irving, paid tribute with a speech full of irony, tenderness, anecdotes and some stanza hummed in his native language to his colleague and friend the German writer Günter Grass in an event held today in Berlin.

The event, that was at the theatre of Lübeck with 900 guests, opened with the medieval music group “Capella de la Torre”, chosen by Grass’ widow, Ute, considering the taste of the writer, and also kept the express wish of this, who didn’t want funeral ceremonies.

The speech in Engligh language contained sentences in German language. Grass “has left us”, and he has taken “all the toys of this world”, said the American, in reference to the character of the drums seller (“The Tin Drum”) that refused to grow, to which the Nazis drove him to the suicide.

The president of the country, Joachim Gauck, among others representatives of the political spheres, especially the Social Democratic Party (SPD), to which Grass help often in their campaigns, although he didn’t always get along with their management, attended at the theatre.

The former chancellor Gerhard Shröde and the current party leader, Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister of Angela Merkel, Sigmar Gabriel, were there.

“The Tin Drum” catapulted him to international level, but throughout his career was exponent of his combative nature, to reach his memories – “Peeling the Onion”- and through “My Century”, “It’s a long story short”, “The turbot” or “Dog Years”.

Günter Grass was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Prince of Asturias in 1999 and died last April 13.

In recent times, he was involved in acid controversial both his late recognition that he had served in Hitler’s troop of the Waffen SS as his criticism of Israel, accusing it of jeopardizing peace in the world, an issue considered taboo in Germany.

Berlin, May 10, 2015, EFE/Practica Español

Grammar notes: review of the past in Spanish.

(Literal translation from the Spanish text to help its understanding).

Ejercicio 1


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