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There was once a grocer who closed his store one day in November, because something was doing in town; taking his son Oskar by the hand, he boarded a Number 5 streetcar and rode to the Langasser Gate, because there as in Zoppot and Langfuhr the synagogue was on fire. The synagogue had almost burned down and the firemen were looking on, taking care that the flames should not spread to other buildings. Outside the wrecked synagogue, men in uniform and others in civilian clothes piled up books, ritual objects, and strange kinds of cloth. The mound was set on fire and the grocer took advantage of the opportunity to warm his fingers and his feelings over the public blaze.As Oskar grows older (though not taller), portents of war transform into the thing itself. Danzig is the first casualty when, in the summer of 1939, residents turn against each other in a pitched battle between Poles and Germans. In the years that follow, Oskar goes from one picaresque adventure to the next--he joins a troupe of traveling musicians; he becomes the leader of a group of anarchists; he falls in love; he becomes a recording artist--until some time after the war, he is convicted of murder and confined to a mental hospital.
The Tin Drum uses savage comedy and a stiff dose of magical realism to capture not only the madness of war, but also the black cancer at the heart of humanity that allows such degradations to occur. Grass wields his humor like a knife--yes, he'll make you laugh, but he'll make you bleed, as well. There have been many novels written about World War II, but only a handful can truly be called great; The Tin Drum, without a doubt, is one. --Alix Wilber
I read this book in German in 1989, in Bonn, during the months leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall. I understood perhaps 1/3 of it, probably less. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Seth Davidson
I just purchased this book for my 22 year old son, who has recently acquired the interest in reading again. I knew that this book would pique his interest. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Gaslight1944
I read this book before seeing the movie which was on television. It is a very long book and you have to be a serious reader of literary fiction to enjoy it and see the characters... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Christopher Higgins
Why is it that people consider OSKAR the insane dwarf? As the book opens, we are treated to a dwarf in a mental institution, a famous jazz drummer, a sculpture, a nazi resister,... Read morePublished on June 25, 2012 by W. T. Hoffman
`The Tin Drum` is a picaresque magical-realist social-satire fairy-tale (whew!). It influenced One Hundred Years of Solitude and Midnight's Children, comparable works of length and... Read morePublished on February 12, 2011 by Stephen Balbach
The Tin Drum is one of my favorite novels and, I think, one of the great novels of the 20th Century. It is profound and mysterious, funny and disturbing, innovative and original. Read morePublished on August 30, 2010 by TChris
I read this German clasic over 30 years ago and enjoyed it more the second time. I'm.in the process of re-reading classics that gave me pleasure years ago and find that a very... Read morePublished on June 24, 2010 by Robert L. Beam
Few characters of any literature can compare to Oskar Matzerath- the perennially three-year boy/man whose decision to remain young is believed to be derived from contemptuous act... Read morePublished on May 3, 2010 by Miami Bob
I opened this page to find within it 3 different reviewers trying to characterize this work in reasonable, yet contradictory ways. Read morePublished on March 26, 2010 by A. Ives