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Cat and Mouse (Danzig) by Gunter Grass

Cat and Mouse (Danzig) (edition 1991)

by Gunter Grass

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1,648156,406 (3.42)51
Title:Cat and Mouse (Danzig)
Authors:Gunter Grass
Info:Harvest Books (1991), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library

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Cat and Mouse by Günter Grass (Author)


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English (11)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
No valid German National Library records retrieved.
  glsottawa | Apr 4, 2018 |
If this book had been published in our modern era, it would have been released as a YA title, since it is set in an elite high school, in German-occupied Poland during WW2. It shows a different side of the war, where the war is relatively far off, intruding into the lives of the boys in the story through sunken military vessels and worries about volunteering for military training and the constant possibility of losing a loved one who is off fighting. The story is tense, but the boys and their teachers are trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy despite the fact that the world outside their immediate area is far from normal and definitely unsafe. I was a bit annoyed at all the suspense Grass builds into the narrative, since most of it falls flat. The narrator keeps saying 'if only' as if the choices he made led to some terrible disaster, but when the story ends, the narrator doesn't seem at all upset about the terrible disaster. This inconsistency extends beyond the central 'conflict', and robs the story of its momentum. But as a literary novel this was a pretty good, and short book.
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1 vote JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
I know, I know, I should have read The Tin Drum before this as that’s the first of the trilogy and this is the second book. But, charity store book beggars can’t be choosers.

Pilenz narrates the story of his adolescent relationship with Mahlke, a student who remains aloof throughout the entire narrative.Grass sets up Mahlke as a character who always seems to live outside the confines of society and its rules. Initially, you feel he is happy there. By the end, you’re not so sure.

Clearly, against a backdrop of Nazi occupied Poland, this is a statement, and both Pilenz and Mahlke are types that Grass uses to illustrate the social conflict of the day. It is significant that, in doing this, Mahlke’s life is never told from his own point of view but only that of the conforming Pilenz.

Much of the novel centres around a half sunken Polish minesweeper on a sandbank off the coast of WW2 Gdańsk which Pilenz and his classmates visit on a regular basis. Mahlke first earns his reputation as being a cut above the rest by diving longer than anyone else can to retrieve items from the sunken vessel. While Mahlke is in complete control of his environment there, his last visit leaves you in some doubt.

The Iron Cross features at two key points in the novel that have to do with Mahlke’s refusal to bow to authority he does not respect, first as a student and then again as a tank officer. While there are parallels between both episodes, the latter, which forms the close of the novel, is the more laden with imagery.

The novel is a complex one both in terms of its symbolic aspects and also its narrative. It’s not easy to follow, with the chronology not always in the order you expect. And because you never feel you can quite trust Pilenz as a narrator, you are never sure what to make of Mahlke. The ending leaves you hanging. It’s all very unsettling, and I’m sure that was Grass’s intention.

I’m not entirely sure I grasped all that Grass is doing in this novel, but I definitely came away having been impacted by some of its tremendous force. I’m now on the lookout for The Tin Drum, not least to walk the path Grass took to Cat and Mouse. ( )
  arukiyomi | Sep 11, 2016 |
A little bit of Dog Days which sprouted and grew a life of its own. A worthy successor to The Tin Drum. Thoughts on youth and war in Danzig. ( )
1 vote HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
I suspect some readers coming at Grass after reading (or seeing the movie of) the Tin Drum might be confounded by the dense imagery of this slender volume. Word pictures simultaneously point at, and deflect attention from, the ´moral´ of the story. Others have referred (very perceptively) to this as Grass´s obliqueness, but ´Grassness´ might be the word to best describe it. In some ways it´s like reading a few feet of a core sample drilled through a thousand years of German/Polish history, and attempting to discern from that not only plot, but the grand themes of the time. In an odd way this book is more enjoyable when read after both Tin Drum and Dog Years. Characters and hints of plot from outside this particular book wander on and off stage, weaving Cat and Mouse into the middle of Grass´s Danzig trilogy and Grass´s moral history. ( )
1 vote nandadevi | Mar 31, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Grass, GünterAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Filippini, EnricoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manger, HermienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manheim, RalphTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walldén, John W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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...And one day, after Mahlke had learned to swim, we were lying in the grass, in the Schlagball field.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156155516, Paperback)

The setting is Danzig during World War II. The narrator recalls a boyhood scene in which a black cat pounces on his friend Mahlke’s “mouse”-his prominent Adam’s apple. This incident sets off a wild series of events that ultimately leads to Mahlke’s becoming a national hero. Translated by Ralph Manheim. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:26 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Rckblickend aus dem Jahr 1959 erzhlt Pilenz vom bewunderten und verachteten Klassenkameraden Mahlke im Danzig der Kriegszeit, den sein bergrosser Adamsapfel zum Aussenseiter macht. Mahlke fhrt einen verzweifelten Kampf um Anerkennung mit sportlichen Rekorden, halsbrecherischen Mutproben oder Hchstleistungen auf sexuellem Gebiet. Er will spter einmal zum Zirkus und als Clown die Menschen zum Lachen bringen. Doch Mahlke wird Soldat.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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