Friday, May 25, 2007

The Tin Drum - post I

The choice of books to follow The Fall of France was limited by simply what was on the bookshelf so The Tin Drum it is for the next couple of days and next week. Having read Cat & Mouse there is a sense that at least you might be prepared for the style but the opening to this book is a powerful reminder that you should always accept the unexpected: “Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital”

Bullet points between pages 1 – 54

* Having introduced the main character Oskar as a resident of a mental institute the character starts to lead us through the story of his life starting with his grandmother, a woman who wore her skirts for the week one on top of another

* She finds her husband as he hides under her skirts after being chased by the police for arson and that evening they get married and he assumes the identity of a dead rafter and for many years is a well-behaved citizen

* But then he is given a job delivering wood for the mill owner that employed him when he burnt down the mills in the region and the police surround the rafts as they come into the river basin and the grandfather jumps into the water never to be seen again

* The story then shifts to the next generation with Oskar describing his mother who had two loves and spent her time running a grocery store that managed to survive even through the hard times of the first world war

* Then he describes his own birth, which he recalls in perfect detail, and remembers his [parents promising to buy him a drum for his third birthday an event that is captured on film and inserted into a family photograph album that Oskar is strongly attached to

* Having got his drum the three year old decides never to grow or develop beyond that point and vows not to follow his father into the grocery trade

More tomorrow…

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