View Full Version : Gunter Grass - The Tin Drum

22-09-2003, 11:07:57
Started reading this recently. I suppose i first about it at uni when a film student friend of mine told me about the film version. Well i still haven't seen that, but after 100 pages of the book it gets an excellent verdict from me.

The story is fairly bizarre to say the least - the hero Oskar is an adult who out of horror at the adult world refuses to grow from the age of 3, and also possesses an almost superhuman glass-shattering screech. His other bizarre feature is his obsession with his tin drum, which he drums away at as a kind of mantra.

The book is very blacly funny and Oskar works very much as a device to show up the hypocrisy, baseness and stupidity of the adult, suburban european world.

Anyway, i'm only 100 pages in, so the best is no doubt yet to come.

Have any of the german speakers here read it in deutsch? It certainly makes a ot of references to the whole german/slav/polack relationship which are probably sligtly lost on me.

23-09-2003, 12:03:07
We had to read it in school. Yes, and it plays in Danzig.

Danzig was an independent free city (not really) from 1920 until 1939. The WWII started with a german battleship firing at some coastal defences at Danzig. Parts of the polish and jewish people were persecutioned. In 1945 the red army seized the city, most of the city was destroyed. and it became de facto a part of Poland (Gdansk) in 1946. Most germans were forced to leave the City then. My mother-in-laws family was from Danzig BTW.
A bart of the inhabitants were kashubians, a (partly "germanized") polish minority, very stubborn people.

23-09-2003, 13:03:27
cool, cheers for the info

did you enjoy it at school? I'm thouroughly enjoying it now, but whether i would have felt that way 10+ years ago...

to say nothing of the fact that it's pretty sexy for a school book

23-09-2003, 14:33:58
I read it when I was 16 or 17. I read it again when I was 25. It's very complex and puzzling. Because the story/setup seems to be very artificial and constructed sometimes, but the details are very realistic. It's a metaphor, Oskar is the small version of the things happening around him. His polish father dies 1939, his german father1945. It's very strong related to grass' bio, IIRC his uncle died 1939 in the same manner like the uncle in the book.