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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, April 24, 2007
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But now a half-century has passed, and Mitchell's skills are awesome, indeed. He has leapt courageously into the deep end of Guenter Grass' linguistic inventiveness, some of which looks at first as if it will defy translation at all. But Mitchell has succeeded beyond any bilingual reader's expectations. THE TIN DRUM is still far richer in its original German, but Mitchell has rendered its wealth anew, and those readers who have yet to discover this masterpiece in English will be rewarded.
Dr. Richard J. Rundell
Professor of German
New Mexico State University
It is hard to summarize the plot, as it is mainly the diverse and extreme experiences of Oskar Matzerath's life. Born in 1924 in Danzig, itself a unique and troubled city, Oskar decides at age three not to grow up anymore. Or does he simply has an illness of the tyroid gland, as he hints at some point? It doesn't matter, precisely because that moment starts the style of the whole book: all the time, terrible things are happening to Oskar, to his family, to his city, to his nation and to his century, but we see everything only through the distorted glass of this unique character's view.
First he tells us about his ancestors and the life they led in pre-war German Poland. Then we know the story of his parents, the infidelity of his mother and other disturbing and often sordid events. His community starts to fall apart as the Nazis rise to power. Then the Nazis come and destroy the city, phisically and spiritually. Oskar spends the whole war in Danzig as well as wandering through France and Belgium as part of a grotesque midget-troupée. After the war, they flee Poland for Düsseldorf, where he is employed in very different jobs: as a tomb engraver, painters' model, jazz drum player. The chapter which describes the journey by train is simply horrible and scaring, as the chapter on his emotional disappointing is sad. The end is strange, confusing but full of hope.Read more ›
Oskar is born and Agnes keeps her promise. On the day he receives his red and white lacquered tin drum, Oskar makes a promise that rules his life for the next eighteen years: Observing the hypocritical nature of his German-Polish family, Oskar decides to stop growing and forever remain three years old. In an effort to accomplish this, he throws himself down the cellar stairs, an act that comes to haunt Alfred (he had left the door open). Oskar does manage to freeze himself in time and his tin drum becomes the symbol of his extreme youth as well as his weapon against adult intervention. It is when Alfred tries to take the drum away that Oskar discovers another unique talent: he can scream at such a high register that glass around the world shatters. At three years old, Oskar has learned the art of manipulation and control.Read more ›
What I can say is this. I have an older translation of "The Tin Drum" which I thought very good. And it is very good. But, in reading portions of this new translation, I get the odd feeling that I am reading a vaguely different and more layered story. This is not to denigrate the older edition I have, but this new translation is obviously much better. As I read, I am simply getting "more" out of the book than what I remember from the first time I read it, and I really don't think it is a function of my own personal experiences or age allowing some greater understanding, but a richer, more faithful translation. It's nothing I can put my finger on with precision, but it's there. This edition is simply a better version of a classic masterpiece.
The binding is solid and I am having no difficulty with any printer's errors or shoddy construction values.
Enthusiastic recommendation without reservation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not as compelling as Gentlemen Take Polaroids but very creative and original. Some very intellectual moments. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Pink Floyd in Space
This book was twisted and warped. It was a story about an insane character written by an insane author. Grass has/had some serious sexual and mommy issues. Read morePublished 2 months ago by DC
The Tin Drum (1959) remains one of the classic German post-war texts. It is also a fascinating mixture of magic realism, history, narrative perspective, psychology, poetry and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kit
At times this novel mesmerized. The language, symbolism, characters, and scope are so rich. At times this novel annoyed. Oskar is so unsympathetic! Read morePublished 3 months ago by John R. Rymer
Having just read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and having listened to the author's explanation of the relationship to Grass's The Tin Drum, I was rewarded by having the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Groucho
A very strange story with strange characters. Far too long. Where was the editor?Published 6 months ago by Michael Archer