The Tin Drum

The Tin Drum

Book - 1962
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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.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c1962
ISBN: 9780375420573
Branch Call Number: F GRA
Characteristics: 591 p. ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Blechtrommel


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Sep 15, 2017

This enduring 20th century classic endures for good reason, by providing both a shocking and at times surreal narrative, and an anatomical dissection of the many layers of complexity of its protagonist, Oskar Matzerath, as seen through the lens of personal and world history. The drum-playing genius, self-serving yet sensitive, and given to the "gratuitous" shattering of glass with his piercing scream, descends into the abyss of paranoid psychosis against the backdrop of WWII and the postwar period in Germany. This novel is not for the faint-of-heart. The labyrinthine syntax and diamond-tipped diction mesh with the intricacies of Oskar's thoughts and observations. Enjoy the multiple unforgettable scenes and descriptions.

Jun 18, 2015

Still one of the best books about Germany in the middle of the 20th century.

May 18, 2014

A supremely weird and masterful work of 20th century fiction. Our hero is Oscar, who has willed himself to look perpetually 3 years old, whose voice can destroy glass, and whose drumming can summon the memories and emotional history of humankind. Set in Poland just before the rise of the Third Reich, The Tin Drum, documents the second world war through the eyes of a child with the mind of an artistic revolutionary rebel. Five stars!

Oct 01, 2011

Once again, hype leads to a non-spectacular read (see my review of "Daughter of Fortune"). This controversial book (and the movie) did nothing for me. The story was not only bizarre, but left me to wonder: What was the point? (June 2001)


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SPL_STARR Jun 23, 2015

"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."

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