of the 20th century”
That’s how a British critic described this novel from 1959 rereading it a few years back. He continued: “it most completely defines the era in all its glories and catastrophes – the moods, atmospheres, manias, streams, currents, histories and under-histories.”
But it also shows how great political events effect ordinary people. The book revolves around Oskar Matzerath, who is the narrator of the story. He’s born with an adult’s capacity for thought and perception but decides never to grow up when he hears his father declare that he’s to take over the father’s grocery business once grownup. He receives a tin drum at 3 years age and soon learns how to manipulate his environment with his drumming. He also learns that his scream can shatter glass.
Following the progress of Oskar you also follow the development of Danzig/Gdansk and the greater Germany from an agricultural era to an industrial, from traditional to postmodern.