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The Tin Drum by G. Grass

The Tin Drum (original 1959; edition 2010)

by G. Grass

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5,63768756 (3.98)1 / 335
Title:The Tin Drum
Authors:G. Grass
Info:Vintage Books (2010), Paperback
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned

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The Tin Drum by Günter Grass (1959)


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English (54)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Bulgarian (1)  Danish (1)  All (68)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
3.5 stars rounded up. I ran out of steam with this so I am giving it the benefit of the doubt by rounding up.

There is a lot to think about in this and I don't think that I understood some of it (much of it?). It is too bad that this is a library book as it would be good to go back and reread or ponder certain passages again when a little time has passed.

I really struggled with one fundamental feature of the novel -- Oskar's supposedly voluntary non-growth, allowing him to remain in a 3-year-old body. I don't know what it is supposed to symbolize but its unreality bothered me throughout the book. I just couldn't suspend my disbelief and let it be... ( )
1 vote leslie.98 | Aug 10, 2016 |
The book was a disappointment to me for given the opportunity to write a book about life in Germany before, during, and after WWII, Grass chose to ignore the war with nary a mention of the holocaust, or specific events during the fighting, except for a mention of the bunkers at Normandy. One would think the war was taking place on another planet. On the whole, the book is a failure on so many levels; difficult to read, superfluous plays on words, bizarre situations, and a complete disengagement from historical reality. From a historical perspective, In The Garden of Beasts by Erick Larson, a non fiction description of Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 and the refusal of the United States to recognize the threat is a far better read. Another good choice is Canadian author Gudrun Moore’s book, A Duty of Remembrance which describes the life of her Nazi soldier father and the difficulties her mother had raising a family while waiting for her husband to return after the war ended. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
This was the most boring book I have ever read. The plot was vacant. ( )
  THCForPain | May 27, 2016 |
Captivating novel of humanity caught in the maelstrom of war. Grass' ability to find lust and humor in the "thick of battle" [so to speak] is memorable. By turns gritty and hysterical, the surreal aspects only serve to complement the whole. Grass encourages us to reject apathy at all costs. ( )
1 vote dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
The Tin Drum is the story of Oskar Matzerath who is born with fully developed mental capabilities. On his third birthday receives a tin drum and decides that he will stop growing (literally and figuratively). We first meet Oskar as a patient in a mental institution as he drums to remember all the details of his life story. Oskar has two talents: drumming and “singshattering.” Armed with these two skills, Oskar embarks on a number of adventures. We follow him through childhood, as a member of a band of traveling performers, and in various endeavors as an “artist.” The Tin Drum is a classic bildungsroman (or perhaps more accurately the anti-bildungsroman since development and maturity of the main character remains questionable) that places the development of it’s main character in the context of pre- post war War II. In doing so, Grass is able to describe the violence and brutality of the World War two era in Danzig.

It was not an enjoyable read (and enjoyment was not the author’s intention), but is one that I appreciated. Grass’s unique writing style, wit, and symbolism throughout make it worth the read. The social commentary underlying the book makes it intentionally uncomfortable for the reader. Oskar is dislikeable (in my opinion) because his denial and detachment prevent him from truly understanding and acknowledging his role in the lives and deaths of people. He is a symbol of the collective guilt and denial of personal responsibility that Grass attributes to ordinary citizens during WWII and Nazi Germany.
( )
1 vote JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Grass, Günterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chmielik, TomaszTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fontcuberta i Gel, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holmberg, NilsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kafka, VladimírTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manheim, RalphTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, BreonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruberl, VittoriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuur, KoosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Secci, LiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Granted: I'm an inmate of a mental institution; my keeper watches me, scarcely lets me out of his sight; for there's a peephole in the door, and my keeper's eye is the shade of brown that can't see through blue-eyed types like me.
Zugegeben: ich bin Insasse einer Heil- und Pflegeanstalt, mein Pfleger beobachtet mich, lässt mich kaum aus dem Auge; denn in der Tür ist ein Guckloch, und meines Pfleger Auge ist von jenem Braun, welches mich, den Blauäugigen, nicht durchschauen kann.
Maria frightened Oskar with her hairy triangle.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067972575X, Paperback)

Meet Oskar Matzerath, "the eternal three-year-old drummer." On the morning of his third birthday, dressed in a striped pullover and patent leather shoes, and clutching his drumsticks and his new tin drum, young Oskar makes an irrevocable decision: "It was then that I declared, resolved, and determined that I would never under any circumstances be a politician, much less a grocer; that I would stop right there, remain as I was--and so I did; for many years I not only stayed the same size but clung to the same attire." Here is a Peter Pan story with a vengeance. But instead of Never-Never Land, Günter Grass gives us Danzig, a contested city on the Polish-German border; instead of Captain Hook and his pirates, we have the Nazis. And in place of Peter himself is Oskar, a twisted puer aeternis with a scream that can shatter glass and a drum rather than a shadow. First published in 1959, The Tin Drum's depiction of the Nazi era created a furor in Germany, for the world of Grass's making is rife with corrupt politicians and brutal grocers in brown shirts:
There was once a grocer who closed his store one day in November, because something was doing in town; taking his son Oskar by the hand, he boarded a Number 5 streetcar and rode to the Langasser Gate, because there as in Zoppot and Langfuhr the synagogue was on fire. The synagogue had almost burned down and the firemen were looking on, taking care that the flames should not spread to other buildings. Outside the wrecked synagogue, men in uniform and others in civilian clothes piled up books, ritual objects, and strange kinds of cloth. The mound was set on fire and the grocer took advantage of the opportunity to warm his fingers and his feelings over the public blaze.
As Oskar grows older (though not taller), portents of war transform into the thing itself. Danzig is the first casualty when, in the summer of 1939, residents turn against each other in a pitched battle between Poles and Germans. In the years that follow, Oskar goes from one picaresque adventure to the next--he joins a troupe of traveling musicians; he becomes the leader of a group of anarchists; he falls in love; he becomes a recording artist--until some time after the war, he is convicted of murder and confined to a mental hospital.

The Tin Drum uses savage comedy and a stiff dose of magical realism to capture not only the madness of war, but also the black cancer at the heart of humanity that allows such degradations to occur. Grass wields his humor like a knife--yes, he'll make you laugh, but he'll make you bleed, as well. There have been many novels written about World War II, but only a handful can truly be called great; The Tin Drum, without a doubt, is one. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:40 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Acclaimed as the greatest German novel written since the end of World War II , The Tin Drum is the autobiography of thirty-year-old Oskar Matzerath who has lived through the long Nazi nightmare and who, as the novel begins, is being held in a mental institution. Willfully stunting his growth at three feet for many years, wielding his tin drum and piercing scream as anarchistic weapons, he provides a profound yet hilarious perspective on both German history and the human condition in the modern world.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.98)
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