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Tin Drum

144 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 13, 1991
$15.97 $1.98

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Editorial Reviews

Japan Tin Drum Import New

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Art Of Parties
  2. Talking Drum
  3. Ghosts
  4. Canton
  5. Still Life In Mobile Homes
  6. Visions Of China
  7. Sons Of Pioneers
  8. Cantonese Boy

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 13, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Plate Caroline
  • ASIN: B000000I00
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,877 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on February 6, 2003
Western literature is full of what Germans call "bildungsroman", that is, the story of a young man's (or woman's)intellectual and emotional growth, often told from the main character's own voice. This kind of novel has adopted innumerable shapes and styles through history, and certainly this one is, so far for me, the strangest and one of the best.
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.
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97 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have been meaning to read this book since it came out in 1959, but only did so now. My reason for delaying was that the reviews I had read of the book made it sound unappealing to me. Why did I want to read the unrealistic ramblings of an insane dwarf?
Having been impressed with Mr. Grass's recent work, Crabwalk, I finally decided to give The Tin Drum a try. I'm glad I did. Let me explain why.
In my studies of the Nazi era, I was always struck by comments that observers from that time made about how banal the evil of it all was. Yet much of the propaganda from that period (such as The Triumph of the Will) that we can see today makes the Nazis seem like mythic figures. What were the observers trying to say? I finally felt like I understood the point through reading The Tin Drum. Reading about distant battles while living in Germany before the bombing became great seems a lot like reading about attacks on coalition troops in Iraq now. Going to party meetings seems a lot like how people here go to lodge meetings now.
In the first 100 pages, I kept wondering why Mr. Grass had chosen to write the novel in the form of an autobiography of an insane dwarf pretending to have a mental age of 3 who had been convicted of a murder he did not commit. Eventually, it hit me. He needed a narrator who could not be considered complicit in what the Nazis did, or we could not trust his voice. In addition, how can you portray banal evils as insane unless you see them through the eyes of an "insane" person who makes all too much sense? Once I accepted the brilliance (perhaps even the inevitability of his choice), I settled back and really began to enjoy the story.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 2000
Echoing the rise and fall of the Third Reich through the eyes of the Peter Pan like Oskar Matzerath, Günter Grass' highly acclaimed novel, The Tin Drum paints a surreal and disturbing portrait of people in a time of great uncertainty. The story begins with Oskar's grandmother, Anna Koljaiczek, a woman who conceives Oskar's mother, Agnes, in a potato field encounter that can only be described as "bizarre." Agnes, herself, grows into a woman out-of-the-ordinary and in time, forms the hypotenuse of a strange love triangle that encompasses two men who love her equally: her husband, Alfred Matzerath and Jan Bronski, the biological father of young Oskar. Oskar, himself, is, from the very beginning, an extraordinary child. Even as a fetus, he refuses to be born until Agnes entices him out of her womb with the promise of a tin drum on his third birthday.
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.
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