Tin Drum / Edition 1

Tin Drum / Edition 1

by Günter Grass
4.1 17
Pub. Date:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Tin Drum / Edition 1

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.

Translated from the German by Ralph Manheim.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900679725755
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1990
Series: Danzig Trilogy , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 592
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

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Tin Drum 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
The_Alternative More than 1 year ago
By far the oddest of the books reviewed here The Tin Drum is a direct contrast between art and war. The underlying theme is that art has the power to overcome the inhumanities of war in society. The theme of performance, music and art permeates throughout the novel. The Tin Drum is the fictional autobiography of Oskar Matzerath and is a masterpiece of surrealism and characterization and is an exact counterpoint to City of Thieves. Oskar, at the age of three, voluntarily wills himself not to grow up after receiving a tin drum for his birthday. He develops a strained high-pitched singing voice that he uses in various ways; breaking glass, defending his drum (which he is never without), breaking and entering, tombstone inscribing, and entrancing his audience. Much like the Russian masters Oskar's autobiography is also the biography of his family and its history and the book delves into the manic lives of the people who affect his life. His mother, her husband Alfred, his mother's lover and many others who cross paths are all tragic characters of the first degree. With convoluted interwoven relationships, extramarital affairs, traveling troupes of dwarf clowns, front line battle antics, criminal anti-establishment youth gangs, jazz music, fortune and fame, tombstone engraving, the Düsseldorf Academy of Art, music recording deals, murder, a dismembered finger, and an insane asylum this story has something for everyone. You must read it to get the full effect. Try as I might, my words could never suffice. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars The Alternative Southeast, Wisconsin http://thealternativeone.blogspot.com/
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you're familiar with magical realism, you might know what to expect from Gunter Grass. If you're not then you will find that this book is quite different than most other books. (Note that if you've read A Prayer to Owen Meany by John Irving, you will find that the protagonist of this work was a big influence to Irving and both protagonists Owen and Oskar share many similarities) (I won't say too much so I ruin the book for you) This book is two stories all together: about pre-war and post-war Germany and Poland. And about Oskar's life in those societies. Now you might be thinking 'just who is this Oskar?' Oskar is by far THE MOST original character I have ever been acquainted with. Not only is his story quite an enigma, but the work is packed with ideas(themes if you will)about the world we live in. Yes, this is one of those books that will make you think (if you are an analytical reader rather than a reader who reads only for the plot) One of the reasons why i love the language of this book is because it was translated from German I believe in 1961 and the language is very rich. For example there are some words that are derived from German that you won't find in an English dictionary, but you can figure out the meaning. As far as the i-can't-put-the-book-down factor goes, this book will have you hooked right away as soon as you read chapter one which is probably the best first chapter I ever read. The book doesn't drag and moves quickly, but it's not exactly a short read (589 pages or so). You should definetly read this book, it's worth the time and money. Trust me!!
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A great view of the relations between Poles and Germans at Danzig in the years before WWII
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved Oskar, and all the characters, sympathetic or not. Yet, when I pictured them, smelled them, listened to them (in my mind), I was usually disgusted or grossed out. Things and people are not always as they appear. The Onion Room was so unusual that when I realized what it was, I gasped out loud.
Guest More than 1 year ago
PSST, Hey You,yeah you, over here. Boy do I have a great read for you. This is one of my all time favorite books to read. It's definately an undown putable book to say the least. I have read it once and didn't finish it until the third day!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent! This magical realism novel is absolutely BRILLIANT! It is as hilarious as it is depressing.... READ IT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the most brilliant book you will ever read! Though it might be a little difficult to comprehend for some, it is a wonderful novel, laden with humor! EXCELLENT!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Written by a German author, the book is highly acclaimed as the 1st great novel in post-war Germany. The main character is ¿Oskar,¿ who as a child decided to stop growing at the age of 3 and expressed himself through his tin drum, and a glass-shattering scream. The book is widely seen as a metaphor for anti-nazism. The author is a published poet and his prose and story expresses a highly abstract style of writing. The first half of the book (Oskar as a child), is entertaining, at times profound, and original. This includes a chapter in which Oskar tells the story of the spread of nazi policy in his town¿s stores. This particular chapter is related as though it were a child¿s parable. This was the best chapter and a Steinbeck like innovation. Unfortunately, the 2nd half continues the account, as the boy becomes an adult. Here, Oskar loses his innocence and charm. He is now very self centered and more like Peter Pan than a metaphorical truth seeker. The character tells the story, but he mixes first person and third person storyteller without reason. The book frequently advanced anti-Catholicism to promote the metaphor of Oskar as the messiah. The author did this too often and it soon became offensive. Overall, I recommend the book, but not not wholeheartedly.
Sekuwa More than 1 year ago
The writer also attracted a lot of controversy when he admitted a few years back of his Nazi connection. So, like all great writers he remains an enigma to all. The book is phenomenal and brilliant, for it tries to capture through fiction the life in Germany just before and after the war broke out. This Gunter does through a character Oskar who is about to reach his teens but has decided not to grow beyond three years. He is dwarfish or gmomish and shatters his drums when he is angry by beating; or glasses around him through his screams: sometimes to steal from a shop, with the help of an accomplice, at others to just express his anguish. He, apparently grown up, narrates the story of his younger age, from a mental asylum where he has found the refuge. So it is mostly through symbols, that the author builds a powerful character. Oskar is a product of a bad mothering by a promiscuous and glutonous woman, who indulges him by never stopping his destructive drum-shattering or glass-breaking. Oskar often leaves her behind to her lover, whom he suspects of being his father, to go out beating his drum in anguish, at their secret hide in a hotel. She pays for the glasses or the drums Oskar destroys. She kills herself by over eating when she is pregnant for the second time, leaving the Oskar, the drummer boy, almost orphaned. A spoilt child he is, he is anguished more at the loss of his mother. There is no one to indulge him anymore, while he apparently resents the mere sympathy he receives from some of the people for becoming a motherless young boy. Both: his suspected and presumptuous fathers, a Polish and a German, offer him almost no help. His legal or presumptive father though, mostly tried earlier to entertain his mother by cooking food for her and tolerating the presence of her Polish lover, when she was alive. His suspected father, Jan Bronski, later got excecuted while he was out only to help Oskar repair his drum, as he and thirty other people were founnd defending the Polish post office from a Nazi attack, where he worked, and France did not come to defend the Poland, author notes, in spite of the treaty. Oskar keeps the guilt secret while he recoves from a sickness in the aftermath of this incident. A few friends Oskar made become victims of different tragidies. One of them, Herbert, dies while trying to make love to a statue in a museum, while another, a jewish Toy-shop owner, who supplies him drums, disappears in the hands of Nazis. A mutual friend of Oskar and Herbert, ..'Meyn, who is an SA man, who drank gin all day and played trumpet too beautifully for words', before he joined the SA and was seen burning a synagogue of the town, comes to mourn the death of Herbert and reaches for the gin bottle after a long time and played the trumpet too beautifully for words. But being a Nazi he was denied sympathies at the funnerel and he returns to his apartment to kill his four pet cats. He was expelled for this cruelty against animals by the Nazi party. Oskar is truly alarmed at the loss of his toy-seller friend and worries if the world is going to remain toyless in future. These poignant discription crisply sum up the situation the writer tries to depict. There is very little of the literature available in English,