Thursday, September 07, 2006

Keep Off The Grass!

I would like to do a series of bloggetry on the topic of Books That Were Supposed To Be Incredibly Good [Because of Awards And/Or Media-Hype & Whatnot Else] And Which I Found To Be, Really Not Very Good When It Came Down To Actually Reading Them.
I should probably come up with a shorter title for such a series, but, for now, let me just say I would probably begin by saying something about Nobel Prize-Winning writer, Gunter Grass’s [1959] “classic” The Tin Drum.
This book somehow garners unto itself a sort of cult-following. From whence cometh its accolades? I am baffled. I opened The Tin, back in October of 2000.
It was a horridly not-good book, in my opinion. Honestly, I could not finish the thing.
Overall, [I managed about ¾’s of it]… the novel was a drawn-out laborious journey for me. I had always heard so much about the merits of The Drum, perhaps I was expecting too much from it? The first three or four chapters had me thoroughly absorbed in Oskar's ancestry, [Oskar being the main character] and for the rest of the book I kept waiting for someone as interesting and human as his grandmother Anna to show up, but I was to be disappointed.
Granted, Oskar's mother Agnes is another consistent and great character, but besides these two... oyvay!
Oskar was such an unreal personage that I found him impossible to trust as a narrator... with every beat of his drum he startled the already frightened theme of this book into a corner. I never found that corner.
If you enjoy authors who tend to dive in and out of the "fantastic" and the "real" I would recommend you go to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Hermann Hesse, or Charles Williams, but for goodness sakes... "keep off the Grass."

I know that in saying all of this I am going to seriously alienate and maybe anger a lot of lovers of the book. And so, I must simply bend, and write in the sand… “Let he who loves Tin, cast the first stone!”



Dorothy W. said...

No anger here! I didn't like the book either. It felt like an incredibly long slog. I did finish it, but it was a struggle. Good for you for giving up! I need to be willing to give up more often.

S William said...

Sounds like a good series for me. I am a book junkie, and always up for exploring opinions on books.

Isabella said...

I read it ages ago. The beginning was awesome, but it probably says something that I only remember the beginning.

cipriano said...

Some consensus!
Seriously... the thing was just not all that great.
I should have went on to say what I did with the book.
Umm... I left it in the laundry room downstairs. There is a little shelf there and people leave books and magazines there for others to read.
But I left The Tin Drum as a PUNISHMENT... imagining that the guy who walked away with it might be the guy who stole my new ROOTS© sweater out of the dryer, a month previous.
Take THAT, you sicko!