Die Blechtrommel [The Tin Drum]

gunter_grass_the_tin_drum

Since, sadly, there’s no concert to go to today, I got around to finishing the book I started 2 weeks ago. I felt sort of guilty for dragging it this long – even so, I still would have rather had a concert to go to😉 But I’ll always have Paris (I hope😉 ).

I felt sort of like I had to read this book; after all, The Tin Drum is big – in a figurative sense – so big in fact that I don’t really think I can say much about it, without sounding silly. I was intrigued by something Dragos said somewhere: that the roots of Rushdie’s Midnight Children can be easily traced back to this particular book. And, while I see the resemblances – the physical disadvantages and the abilities that they generate, the social and political subtexts – I still have a personal preference for Mr Rushdie. There’s just more twisty magic in his world.

The Tin Drum feels in so many ways like a classic: bildungsroman with elements of the picaresque, well defined main character (which probably represents the homework of many German students😉 ), symbols and subtexts. It’s quite a pleasure to read, although not necessarily too accessible, entertaining and gripping while not giving in to sensationalism.

I won’t go spoiling the plot – and I’ll just quickly skip to my favorite thing about it: Oskar’s duality. His destiny is marked from the first second my uncertainty over his paternity (Jan Bronski – his mother’s cousin and lover, the Polish dandy or Matzerath – his mother’s husband, the German merchant) and from then on his preferences will always be clearly split: Rasputin (the carnal and earthly) or Goethe (the poetic, aerial, abstract) in his formative years; Poland or Germany throughout the war; in fact – art vs. war in itself; and the women: mothers or nurses. The perhaps one thing that keeps them all together is his uncanny talent for drumming from which, no matter how tragic his experiences turn out to be he can never really stay away. A rare gift he has (and now that I sound like Yoda, it crosses my mind that Oskar might look a bit like the Jedi master – except for the green skin and pointy ears😀 ): he can sing, evoke his life and other’s life and the touch of the drum – childhood, neighbours, war, interior conflicts, deaths and overwhelming guilt, friends lost and friends gained, love and rejection, the Polish potato fields and the 4 brown skirts, all sorts of darkened pasts.

~ by ameer on May 16, 2009.

3 Responses to “Die Blechtrommel [The Tin Drum]”

  1. ma bucur ca ti-a placut si ca iata, i-ai mai lasat deoparte pe englezi. toba de tinichea e capodopera lui grass, e un roman greu, scris special sa te irite si sa te provoace, sa te solicite. mai trebuie sa citesti si orbirea de canetti si cred ca te vindeci de rushdie:)…

  2. :)) Dar nici nu vreau sa ma vindec de Rushdie😉 Dar din cand in cand incerc sa ma ies din cercul meu cosy de englezi, asa ca, next time, o sa incerc Canetti😉

  3. […] of this rather than A Whiter Shade of Pale*). Oskar is a clear shout out to Gunter Grass’s Oscar Matzerath (down to the fact that Mr. Foer’s hero carries around a tambourine) and, in the beginning at […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: