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The Tin Drum Paperback – 5 May 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Paperback, 5 May 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (5 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099483505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099483502
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 3.5 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,271,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Funny, macabre, disgusting, blasphemous, pathetic, horrifying, erotic, it is an endless delirium, an outrageous phantasmagoria in which dust from Goethe, Hans Andersen, Swift, Rabelais, Joyce, Aristophanes and Rochester dances on the point of a needle in the flame of a candle that was not worth the game' Daily Telegraph"

Book Description

SALES POINTS: * The novel that launched Grass' spectacular career and one of the books of the century. Stylish repackage to reach another generation of readers. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This reissue of Tin Drum- Japan's most popular LP featuring surprise hit single Ghosts comes with a wonderful 24-page booklet, a deluxe appearance and various photos, including some from Steve Jansen. It also comes with an additional disc comprising The Art of Parties session- two alternate take of TAOP plus Life Without Buildings, as well as the single version of Ghosts.
The album itself is still wonderful, though the Japan sound was pretty much defined on Gentlemen Take Polaroids (1980)- here the music is oriental, as the lyrics were influenced by a collection of photos of Communist China (according to the Black Vinyl, White Powder memoir of Simon Napier Bell, then manager of Japan). The Art of Parties gets straight to the point- a clipped sythetic sound that might have been Roxy Music if they hadn't embraced MOR. Talking Drum is even better- an underrated Japan track which has the same electronic-country feel of My New Career; this seagues into the Top Five hit single Ghosts. Who'd believe that a minimal electronic piece indebted to John Cage and Henrik Ibsen would be their biggest hit? As with 1980's Burning Bridges, Nightporter & Taking Islands in Africa, Sylvian dispenses with the band- notably Mick Karn's fretless bass. This might seem absurd, but Sylvian was going for the song, rather than adhering to the band formula- this was Sylvian's year zero and the pathway to his interesting solo career (see tracks like Bamboo Music, Backwaters & The Stigma of Childhood to see where this lead; also 1999's Godman referred to this!). The light comes back in with the Jansen/Sylvian-composed Canton- wonderful world music that fails to explain why any of this lot weren't employed to provide a film soundtrack...Still Life in Mobile Homes (er, title?
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Format: Hardcover
I was initially surprised to see that there was a new translation of one of my top three novels of the 20th century...why? It was done in conjunction with the author, 50 years after the book's first publication, and the introduction makes the point that great works of literature need to be re-translated for new generations of readers. Once I thought of the different translations of War & Peace I'd read, I agreed.

So I read the new translation, and I wasn't disappointed. It's more alive, more accessible, less stodgy than the old one (which is a good translation for its time). I dipped into the old one from time to time and the new one read better. The translator has taken great care with rendering aspects of Grass' German style into English so that we can get a closer feel for the original. And some small details which were originally not included (censored?) also appear, which for a purist is justification enough.

If you've never read the book, or if, like me, you're reading it for the nth time, I think this is a great new version of an astonishing novel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel is about a Oskar, born with a fully developed (albeit partial, seemingly a bit autistic) grip on the world about him, who does not grow past his third birthday, drums and "singshatters" glass, and lives through pre-war Danzig, war-time Danzig and post-war Danzig in the three section of the book.

The plot is highly episodic/picaresque; the individual episdose very memorable, whether this is Oskar eating an appalling soup cooked by young children, or the death of his mother following a surfeit of seafood. On the cover of the hardback come praises from John Irving and Salman Rushdie, both of whom have learned from Grass' techniques.

The style demands concentration and patience: the new translator explains that he has tried to mirror the sentence lengths of the German original, and to make the English hard going where the original German is hard going and not to smooth out the reading experience.

It takes a long time to work through the 600 plus pages. But this is quite unique - very impressive - and if it appeals more to the head than the heart, it's very well worth persevering. I was sorry to reach the end.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I wanted to read the book before I saw the film. I came to the book blind, knowing it had a reputation, but unaware of its content or style. For those equally ignorant of the book, the story concerns the life of Oskar, born between the wars in a world where Pole rubs side-by-side with German, and whose physical constitution means that he remains the size of a child. And as a child, he also commences a lifelong predilection for playing a tin drum.

We follow his life, his actions, thoughts, and feelings through the 1930s, through the Second World War, and into the start of the West German economic miracle. Family, neighbours, friends, and enemies and his interactions with them fill the pages. That brief description of the gist of the novel might make it sound as if it is a story of depressing times. It is not. Yes, there is tragedy, but the work is also suffused with a wry humour as Oskar comes to terms with men’s (and women’s) real intentions, as well as cultivating his own.

Grass soon establishes his approach by narrating the thoughts and actions of his character in the first-person singular, and the third person – and even the second person. And all often in the same sentence. Here’s an example that also gives a feel of the subject-matter: “… it would never occur to me to set myself up as a resistance fighter because I disrupted six or seven rallies and threw three or four parades out of step with my drumming … Did Oskar drum for the people? Did he … take the action in hand and provoke the people out in front of the rostrum to dance? Did he confound and perplex? Did he … break up brown rallies on a drum which though red and white was not Polish? Yes, I did all that. But does that make me, as I lie in this mental hospital, a Resistance Fighter?
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