Cat and Mouse was the book Günter Grass wrote immediately after The Tin Drum, and it shares its setting with that earlier novel: Danzig during World War II. But while The Tin Drum achieves its extraordinary cumulative effect through the sprawling and picaresque, Cat and Mouse depends on brevity and compactness. The provocative story centers on the narrator's vivid recollection of a boyhood scene in which a black cat is provoked to pounce on his friend Mahlke's "mouse" – his prominent Adam's apple. This incident sets off a wild series of utterly Grassian events that ultimately leads to Mahlke's becoming a national hero. Because of Grass's singular storytelling virtuosity, Cat and Mouse is marvelously entertaining, powerful, and full of funny episodes – yet it also has a serious undercurrent "at the deepest level, [about] the survival of individual human qualities in this age of wars and state-directed politics" (The New York Times Book Review). Günter Grass – novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, and graphic artist – is considered Germany's greatest contemporary writer. He lives in Berlin.