Elise's Reviews > The Tin Drum

The Tin Drum by Günter Grass
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jan 22, 2008

liked it
Read in January, 2008

This book took me FOREVER to finish. I'd read it, get maybe forty pages in, then put it down for several months, forget what I'd read, start all over, get forty pages in, etc. This went on for maybe five years. I finally resolved to finish it, powered through with all my might and mein, found it distasteful, royally disliked it, but continued even still because I wanted to be able to close the damn thing once and for all and give it a scathing review on Goodreads.

No such luck. While the book is long, too long, drawn out, boring -- after finishing it I felt like I walked away with something good. Book about a loathsome miniature man who bangs on a drum from the age of three years old. Told from a mental institution. Set during and after WWII. A long and lagging story, but there are several moments of such beauty, several moments of rigorous torture, several moments of fresh allegory and metaphor -- that make the slog worthwhile.

My favorite chapter, near the end, is the story of the Onion Cellar, a hip urban bar (in Dusseldorf maybe?), where the patrons go to drink, to see live music, but most importantly, to chop onions so they may cry and wail and purge their tears.

My second favorite chapter, near the beginning, is the story of the narrator's mother, and how she falls witness to a fisherman bringing up his 'line' -- a rope with a horsehead attached, teeming with eels all embedded in its skull. The description is so lurid it made me want to vomit right alongside the narrator's mother.
2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Tin Drum.
Sign In »

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-3 of 3) </span> <span class="smallText">(3 new)</span>

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Have you seen the film version? I recently watched parts of it and the impression I got was so similar to your reaction to the book: worthwhile slog!

Elise Film version!? Sign me up.

message 3: by Ally (new)

Ally The brand new group - Bright Young Things - is nominating books to read in January & The Tin Drum is among them. Its the perfect place to discuss your favourite books and authors from the early 20th Century, why not take a look...


back to top