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The Tin Drum (The Danzig Trilogy #1)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  25,135 ratings  ·  1,039 reviews
The publication of The Tin Drum in 1959 launched Günter Grass as an author of international repute. Bitter and impassioned, it delivers a scathing dissection of the years from 1925 to 1955 through the eyes of Oskar Matzerath, the dwarf whose manic beating on the toy of his retarded childhood fantastically counterpoints the accumulating horrors of Germany and Poland under t ...more
Paperback, 565 pages
Published February 5th 2004 by Vintage Classics (first published 1958)
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Apr 04, 2007 Tia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Your [intellectual] inner beast.
I had an intense reaction to this book. I friggin hated it. Or, rather, I loved to hate it, while I was reading it. It was an assignment in a Postmodern Lit. class, and everyone in the class liked the protagonist but me. I thought he was awful. I couldn't believe they enjoyed him, much less admitted to enjoying him. But some part of me must have understood.

...That was the point. This is a story I felt in my stomach. It was so full of perversion, of the grotesque, and I was 20 and a "good girl" a
Jr Bacdayan
Heil, Oskar Koljaiczek Matzerath-Bronski! The drummer! The magical three-year-old! The hunchback! The Jesus! The Satan! The Goethe! The Rasputin! The arsonist reincarnate! The student! The destroyer of glass! The tempter! The Skat ace! The bane of propaganda assemblies! The war veteran! The Catholic! The disciple maker! The choir boy! The fizz blower! The father! The prodigal son! The entertainer! The tombstone engraver! The art model! The devotee of nurses! The jazz musician! The star! The love ...more
Aug 19, 2015 Jeb rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeb by: Nathan, 'A Novel Idea' bookclub
Shelves: favorites
The plot, characters, and setting are all top-notch, but what makes Drum a stellar read is its tone. A reviewer might have described it as 'sardonically irreverant' had not Waiting for Guffman been the source of the phrase. Dripping with arrogance and wit against a macabre backdrop, The Tin Drum follows our sturdy-at-three-feet protagonist Oskar from his vivid recollections of his own birth through Hitler's occupations of Danzig, DE and Oskar's familial Poland through many other no doubt excitin ...more
My reaction to finishing this book was 'thank god that's over'. I thought it was interesting in the abstract, but at times I couldn't stand reading it. The unreliable main character Oskar, decides to stop growing at the age of three . He refuses to speak, and communicates by banging on his titular drum. I gather this is supposed to reflect German societies refusal to accept the realities of the rise of Nazism and their complicity in it. But I don't really care. My problem with the book wasn't th ...more
"Granted: I'm an inmate in a mental institution."

This opening line prepared me only a little to what was to come: a challenging, weird, unbelievable and extraordinary story.
Oskar's drums and his drumming may still "haunt" me for some time after finishing his story. I am lost for more words here but one: recommended!
Era uma vez um país chamado Polónia que foi invadido durante uma Guerra chamada de Segunda Mundial.
Era uma vez um país chamado Alemanha que recuperava de uma Guerra.
Era uma vez um tambor de lata tocado por um menino chamado Oskar que cresceu, anão e corcunda, e se tornou um músico famoso.
Era uma vez um enfermeiro de um hospício chamado Bruno que cuidava e ouvia a história de Oskar.
Era uma vez uma mulher chamada Anna que escondeu debaixo de quatro saias um fugitivo e nove meses depois nasceu Agne
Funny, Brechtian Story of a Murderous Dwarf who is a Genius Drummer

This is a tough book to review.

The story uses Brecht's concept of distancing to keep us from identifying with the characters.

The tale takes place in Germany and Poland, before, during, and after World War II.

The main character and narrator is Oskar Matzerath, a dwarf (and later on, a hunchbacked dwarf), who develops a precocious genius for drumming as a toddler. His parents supply him with toy tin drums (which he wears out with h
*Available from KOBOBOOKS

The most remarkable thing that strikes one about The Tin Drum is an absence. For a novel that so famously deals with Germany's war guilt, there is remarkably little about the war in the novel.

I don't mean to say that the novel does not touch on or talk about World War II. Of course it does. There is, after all, two whole chapters dealing with the German invasion of Poland, for example, where Oskar, Jan Bronski, and a dying man play a game of cards at the Polish Post Off
"What more shall I say: born under light bulbs, deliberately stopped growing at age of three, given drum, sang glass to pieces, smelled vanilla, coughed in churches, observed ants, decided to grow, buried drum, emigrated to the West, lost the East, learned stonecutter's trade, worked as model, started drumming again, visited concrete, made money, kept finger, gave finger away, fled laughing, rode up escalator, arrested, convicted, sent to mental hospital, soon to be acquitted, celebrating this d ...more
Camille Stein
¿Qué más diré? Nací bajo bombillas, interrumpí deliberadamente el crecimiento a los tres años, recibí un tambor, rompí vidrio con la voz, olfateé vainilla, tosí en iglesias, nutrí a Lucía, observé hormigas, decidí crecer, enterré el tambor, huí a Occidente, perdí el Oriente, aprendí el oficio de marmolista, posé como modelo, volví al tambor e inspeccioné cemento, gané dinero y guardé un dedo, regalé el dedo y huí riendo; ascendí, fui detenido, condenado, internado, saldré absuelto; y hoy celebro ...more
I knew this book is good, but I had no idea it were that good.

The novel that is not novel

On the surface, this is a fairly simple, easy to read book. It's the first novel by Günter Grass and it was published in 1959. You would think an author of this caliber would produce something that has a sophisticated (or should I say complicated?) style, something awesome, something the literary world would have a hard time explaining. But — he didn't. Grass obviously wasn't very fond of this. Right at the
Funny I missed rating and reviewing this jewel. This is the lodestar, the mandrake root, the intrepid ooze making friends in the lukewarm pools of primeval poetry. This was the point of departure. A hallowed book I finished in a laundromat. I almost can't remember my reading life before wee Oskar. Eels, fizz, post offices, onions and Dusters have littered my imagination seemingly forever. I wanted to read the new translation and likely will someday. My memories of my own grandmother now smell li ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Onions and Potatos

In the very first chapter, I was reminded of Midnight Children because of Oscar's conversational tone of narrative - same as that of Saleem Shinai. Once MC was in my mind couldn't help locating similarities - both narrators start their stories with first meeting of their maternal grandparents, both like talking about sex, both of them feel need to hide from world (Oskar in grandmother's skirts, Shinai in londery box) etc. Still there are enough differences, MC is more magic
K.D. Absolutely
I am not sure how to rate this book. I am not sure if I like it or hate it. It is just out of this world and Gunter Grass (Nobel Prize in Literature awardee) is just in his own league.

The book is about a midget who refused to grow up. He decided to stop growing up at the age of 3 when he also started to beat his drum. His story as a child (Book 1) coincides with the pre-holocaust period in Poland. The scenes that struck me here the most are the 5-layer skirt of his grandmother where his grandfa
Pop quiz: what's the name of that book with the physically deformed protagonist who's got paternity uncertainty and lives his own country's history? You know, he's got a superpower that sort of fades in and out as the book progresses, and, if I recall correctly, a relative who can cook feelings into soups. And he falls in with a group of weird kids with comical nicknames like Eyeslice and PuttPutt. No, it's not Midnight's Children. I'm talking about the one with the narrator who tells the whole ...more
Jul 24, 2010 Maureen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, with enthusiasm
Recommended to Maureen by: Tom Carson
Shelves: anti-war, novel
The world portrayed in The Tin Drum is brutal and harsh, and, at the same time freakishly strange. There is an aspect to violence that disconnects from everyday reality. In this book, seen through the eyes of its diminutive hero, it becomes downright surreal. Though the tone may be fantastic, Grass does a better job of capturing life under Nazi rule than anything else I have ever read. Even in translation, his language is dazzling, and one thing is certain: after reading what happens at the end ...more
When I was younger the only musical instrument we had in the house was an old acoustic guitar of my dad’s. Despite an interest in music, I was never particularly drawn to it, finding it a snivelling and cowardly instrument; an acoustic guitar, I thought to myself, cowers and sighs and feels sorry for itself, and that wasn’t at all what I wanted to express. No, I wanted to hammer something, to make a noise. Quite evidently, at that age, and in those circumstances, what best suited my feelings was ...more
GRRRRRR come GRass

Del fatto che Gunter scrivesse bene ci si accorge subito.
Soprattutto quando passa dalla prima alla terza persona con la leggerezza con cui il barista di fiducia, ti chiede se “oggi il croissant lo vuole alla marmellata o al cioccolato?”.
L’idea di basare la storia su un cambio di prospettiva è decisamente estrosa, e verrà persino ripresa in una famosa scena di un film altrettanto noto di fine anni ’80, in cui un insegnante di lettere invita i suoi studenti a salire sul banco, pe
تنبيه: فيما يأتي كشف لأحداث الرواية.

الطبل الصفيح

قرأت الرواية ومن ثم شاهدت الفيلم الألماني الذي صنع منها سنة 1979 م، وحاز على أوسكار أفضل فيلم أجنبي، وقام بدور أوسكار فيه (دايفد بينيت) وأخرجه المخرج الألماني فولكر شلوندرف، فلذا سأتحدث عن الرواية والفيلم معا ً.

في البداية علي أن أعترف بأن القراءة لغونتر غراس متعبة، فخلاف أن الرواية تتمدد في نسختها العربية على 687 صفحة، تندر فيها الحوارات، وهذا يعني بنيان متراص يرويه لنا بأسلوبين (أوسكار ماتسرات) بطل الرواية وصاحب الطبول الصفيحية – لم يكن طبلا ً و
I learned that I don't find eccentric midgets that make highly stylized allusions to archaic information and literature very interesting, but that I do like it when eccentric midgets kill their fathers and have lots of sex. So ultimately this book taught me I am shallow; goodbye Harpers, hello National Enquirer.
Romanzo visionario, sempre in bilico tra realtà e allucinazione, sgradevole, complesso. Pesa sul lettore un senso di oppressione e di angoscia, un disgusto di fondo dovuto alle immagini forti e ai dettagli che Oskar il tamburino descrive con maniacale precisione di quanto accade dentro e fuori di lui, da prima che venisse al mondo, dalla fine del 1800, fino al compimento dei suoi 30 anni, nel 1954. Tutto nasce da sotto le quattro gonne di nonna Koljaiczek, la Grande Madre, seduta nei campi di pa ...more
I swear I could hear that drum playing in my head at odd moments. Especially every time I tried to write this review. I think it was my own warning to pay proper homage to a brilliant book. It always amazes me how some authors can take some dark passages of a characters life and treat it with a humour that doesn't detract from the seriousness of the subject.

I wanted to kick Oskar in the rump almost as often as I wanted to hug him. What an exasperating protagonist but I suspect he is very much a
Aug 19, 2008 Tyler rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Tyler by: Author's Nobel Prize
Describing this book's good points is hard, so I'll start with the echoes. This book of overlapping situations gives off echoes even past its last page. People, places and things all have echoes.

A work of magical realism about a demented dwarf shouldn't appeal to me. Descriptions of the book as “humorous” or “hilarious” are odd, because nothing about war is funny. Nor are Germans funny. But I read the book anyway. Grass writes with wit and sometimes dry humor, but adjectives describing The Tin
Jul 31, 2015 Alex rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hunchbacked dwarf musical prodigies
"Even bad books are books, and therefore holy.'

But this is not a bad book. What a tightrope act it is! Sustaining the totally unreliable, possibly insane voice of Oskar through a book this long without stumbling or stretching our suspension of semi-belief is a hell of a task, and Grass totally nails it. I found this entertaining, funny, sad, weird and wholly likable.

I do wish I hadn't read that part about catching eels while eating a sandwich. That shit was gross as hell.

Anyone know where I can
One of the reasons I read . . .
This is going to be the very, very short version as one would have to write pages to do justice to this book and I'm just not up to it. In a nutshell..Oskar is born with the understanding of an adult. He hears a conversation between his mother and her husband in which the husband says Oskar will grow up and take over the family grocery store. The mother says when Oskar is three he will get a drum. The horror! A life running the grocery store is not to Oskar's liking but he likes the idea of the ...more
Ebrahim Refaghat
طبل حلبی یکی از بهترین کتابهایی است که خوانده ام. قبل از شروع اصلا فکر نمی کردم با چنین رمان عظیمی روبرو شوم و با هر صفحه ای که جلو می رفتم اشتیاقم برای خواندن و خواندن، بیشتر و بیشتر می شد. به راستی که نویسنده چنین رمان بزرگی مستحق جایزه ادبی نوبل هست و چه بهتر که آن را دریافت کرده است.ء

انسان ها همین که چیزی درست کردند که بر زمانشان نشان گذاشت، خود بنده آن می شوند.ء

ارتکاب گناه چه راحت عادت می شود.ء

هر تدفين يادآور تدفين هاي ديگر است.ء

در اين دنيا چه چيز ، كدام رمان است كه حماسه اي به وسعت يك آلبو
Inderjit Sanghera
‘The Tin Drum’ was one of the first proponents of what many readers dub “magic realism”, in which magical or fantastical happenings take place in a broadly realistic world. The term, however, is something of a misnomer; there is nothing more magical than reality, than the dazzling reflection of sunlight from a car window pane, than the myriad of colours which exist in a simple cloud, pink, white, blue or deep red. Reality, that most slippery of concepts, is often stranger than people think, peop ...more
مروان البلوشي

ألمانيا، الأرض التي تصارعت عليها بكل قوة وعنف وحيوية مختلف تيارات وأهواء الثقافة الغربية والعالمية، الأرض التي جمعت بين دقة وبرود العقل وأشواق الروح الإنسانية (اعتذر عن هذا الكليشيه الرخيص)، هذه الأرض وجدت نفسها مدمرة تماماً بعد نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية مادياً وروحياً.
مادياً: فقدت ألمانيا بنيتها التحتية والصناعية التي كانت الأفضل في أوروبا قبل الحرب، روحياً شعر الألمان انهم فقدوا بوصلتهم الأخلاقية والنفسية. وهل كان هناك أي معنى روحاني أو أخلاقي للحياة من بعد: الهولوكوست، من بعد مقتل 8 ملايين
Günter Grass's 'Die Blechtrommel' is like an onion or, better said, a rose, since the onion analogy is dreadfully overused nowadays. Also, it gives a wrong impression about the mounting importance of the successive layers. Rose petals are more appropriate as they are identical, democratic. One petal covers another only in terms of its visibility. In this way, 'Die Blechtrommel' is first an adventure novel. Following the wild escapades of the self-willed three-year-old Oskar, the novel takes read ...more
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Günter Wilhelm Grass was a Nobel Prize-winning German author and playwright.
He was born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland). Since 1945, he has lived in West Germany (now Germany), but in his fiction he frequently returns to the Danzig of his childhood.
He is best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum, a key text in European magic realism. His works frequently have a strong left wing,
More about Günter Grass...

Other Books in the Series

The Danzig Trilogy (3 books)
  • Cat and Mouse
  • Dog Years

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“Even bad books are books and therefore sacred.” 62 likes
“Granted: I AM an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there's a peep-hole in the door, and my keeper's eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me.” 41 likes
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