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Synopsis

The Tin Drum, one of the great novels of the twentieth century, was published in Ralph Manheim's outstanding translation in 1959. It became a runaway bestseller and catapulted its young author to the forefront of world literature.

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the original publication, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, along with Grass’s publishers all over the world, is bringing out a new translation of this classic novel. Breon Mitchell, acclaimed translator and scholar, has drawn from many sources: from a wealth of detailed scholarship; from a wide range of newly-available reference works; and from the author himself. The result is a translation that is more faithful to Grass’s style and rhythm, restores omissions, and reflects more fully the complexity of the original work.

After fifty years, THE TIN DRUM has, if anything, gained in power and relevance. All of Grass’s amazing evocations are still there, and still amazing: Oskar Matzerath, the indomitable drummer; his grandmother, Anna Koljaiczek; his mother, Agnes; Alfred Matzerath and Jan Bronski, his presumptive fathers; Oskar’s midget friends-Bebra, the great circus master and Roswitha Raguna, the famous somnambulist; Sister Scholastica and Sister Agatha, the Right Reverend Father Wiehnke; the Greffs, the Schefflers, Herr Fajngold, all Kashubians, Poles, Germans, and Jews-waiting to be discovered and re-discovered.

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    Slow-going, but worthwhile for it’s crazy uniqueness

    I did it! I finally finished this novel. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read before; I’d compare it to Pynchon meets Marquez. Phew. It’s by no means a page-turner, but it’s craziness kept me slogging through, sometimes to my confusion. I was told the tale of Oskar who wills himself to stop growing at three-years-old, when he gets a toy drum from his mom. He speaks of himself in both first- and third-person, spinning (drumming?) his story from a mental hospital. He tells of his pre-war years, WWII, and the aftermath. A tonne of things happen to him: from piercing glass windows with his voice, to crazy love affairs, to joining a dwarf circus which entertains the troops.

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