Books written by German novelist and Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass at the  Dussmann book and media store in Berlin. John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

The Danzig Trilogy: The best place to begin? The trilogy which includes three of his finest works: The Tin Drum (1959), Cat and Mouse (1961) and Dog Y(...)

Günter Grass: darkly exuberant, experimental fiction

How to define Günter Grass? All things to all men; novelist, visual artist, witness, 1999 Nobel Literature Laureate, commentator, polemicist, world(...)

Hits and misses: the Spanish novelist Jesús Carrasco. Photograph: Raquel Torres

Human suffering is one of literature’s enduring themes. When it involves the agony of children it becomes heightened and enters the realm of the unima(...)

Dada is a candid young woman with few delusions about her place in the world. She belongs to a lost generation and she knows it. Geographical dista(...)

Hoot Owl – Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien

Remember me? The intrepid Book Elf despatched from the North Pole days before Christmas by Santa Claus on a mission to source great books for disce(...)

 Mario Varga Llosa. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

There is nothing discreet about this leisurely, burlesque and ultimately polemical jaunt about greed, corruption and the sundry nasty stuff with which(...)

Katinka inhabits a passive trance; it was always like that. First she was a little girl, the youngest in her family. “While her father was still alive(...)

World -class literature: James Joyce’s Ulysses might well take more than a day to read, unless a reader wishes to turn a day’s reading into a vigil without meals. Yet there is a stupendous feast of shorter books, novels and short stories, awaiting and all to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace in one day. Photograph: Frank Miller

On this day of days, Irish people the world over celebrate and debate what would life be like if real snakes, of the reptilian rather than politica(...)

Han Kang (above) doesn’t waste a word as she tells the story

It all seems so simple. Young, childless Yeong-hye decides to renounce meat. Her husband, the narrator of the first part of this mind-blowing novel fr(...)

Pontus Beg is a police commissioner in Michailopol, a fictional small town somewhere in the Russian steppe. As a boy Beg used to dream of being old(...)