Michael is a little boy who loves his grandfather. The grandfather, who lives with the family, is dying of cancer. As the story progresses, Grandfather tells Michael stories, leaves home temporarily because of his daughter-in-law's (Michael's mother's) ungracious complaints, jokes with Michael about death and dying, and steadily deteriorates. After his death, Michael grieves for a while, then realizes that ""he isn't really dead, not as long as someone is still thinking of him."" The conclusion is standard, but the process is observed with unstinting honesty. Michael's feelings for his grandfather come across, and so do his mother's impatience with the old man and her undue concern for appearances. A German prizewinner, this connects in any language.