Tuesday 25 January 2022

Book Review: The Tin Drum by Günther Grass (Modern Classics)

Title: The Tin Drum
Author: Günther Grass
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2010 (1959)
Pages: 608
Modern Classic
Xmas Gift 

On his third birthday Oskar decides to stop growing. Haunted by the deaths of his parents and wielding his tin drum Oskar recounts the events of his extraordinary life; from the long nightmare of the Nazi era to his anarchic adventures in post-war Germany.


I think it's fair to say, The Tin Drum is a book I appreciated, rather than enjoyed. It's one of those modern classics you often hear mentioned, so I thought I should finally get around to reading it. Intellectually speaking, it's an interesting work, and I can see and appreciate what Grass was trying to do, both on a prose level and in terms of the book as a whole. Although I haven't read the original text, from the translator's end notes, it seems he has worked hard to preserve the feel and rhythm of the original language, and certainly those devices did come across as I was reading. However, I never came to 'enjoy' the book as far as the story and characters are concerned. It was clever throughout, and funny at times, but it never clicked with me, and at times I felt I had to wade through it. As such, I am giving it three and a half stars. It was interesting, and I am glad I finally got to experience it, but once was definitely enough.

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