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Die streng komponierte Novelle 'Katz und Maus' überraschte 1961 die Kritiker: Grass, als dessen Markenzeichen seit der 'Blechtrommel' die kaum zu bändigende Fülle galt, zeigte sich als Meister der kleinen Form, der literarischen Kammermusik. Aus der Rückschau des Jahres 1959 erzählt Pilenz vom bewunderten und verachteten Klassenkameraden Mahlke im Danzig der Kriegszeit, de Die streng komponierte Novelle 'Katz und Maus' überraschte 1961 die Kritiker: Grass, als dessen Markenzeichen seit der 'Blechtrommel' die kaum zu bändigende Fülle galt, zeigte sich als Meister der kleinen Form, der literarischen Kammermusik. Aus der Rückschau des Jahres 1959 erzählt Pilenz vom bewunderten und verachteten Klassenkameraden Mahlke im Danzig der Kriegszeit, den sein übergroßer Adamsapfel zum Außenseiter macht. Mahlke führt einen verzweifelten Kampf um seine Integration, um die Schließung des existentiellen Risses zwischen 'Katz und Maus', und wird doch im Sieg endgültig scheitern. Auch das Ritterkreuz, von dem er sich, der Perversion der Zeit gemäß, Erlösung durch Bedeckung seiner Blöße erhofft, verhilft ihm nicht zum Frieden mit der Welt.


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Die streng komponierte Novelle 'Katz und Maus' überraschte 1961 die Kritiker: Grass, als dessen Markenzeichen seit der 'Blechtrommel' die kaum zu bändigende Fülle galt, zeigte sich als Meister der kleinen Form, der literarischen Kammermusik. Aus der Rückschau des Jahres 1959 erzählt Pilenz vom bewunderten und verachteten Klassenkameraden Mahlke im Danzig der Kriegszeit, de Die streng komponierte Novelle 'Katz und Maus' überraschte 1961 die Kritiker: Grass, als dessen Markenzeichen seit der 'Blechtrommel' die kaum zu bändigende Fülle galt, zeigte sich als Meister der kleinen Form, der literarischen Kammermusik. Aus der Rückschau des Jahres 1959 erzählt Pilenz vom bewunderten und verachteten Klassenkameraden Mahlke im Danzig der Kriegszeit, den sein übergroßer Adamsapfel zum Außenseiter macht. Mahlke führt einen verzweifelten Kampf um seine Integration, um die Schließung des existentiellen Risses zwischen 'Katz und Maus', und wird doch im Sieg endgültig scheitern. Auch das Ritterkreuz, von dem er sich, der Perversion der Zeit gemäß, Erlösung durch Bedeckung seiner Blöße erhofft, verhilft ihm nicht zum Frieden mit der Welt.

30 review for Katz und Maus

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    (449 From 1001 Books) - Katz und Maus = Cat And Mouse (Die Danziger Trilogie = Danzig Trilogy #2), Günter Grass Cat and Mouse, published in Germany in 1961 as Katz und Maus, is a novella by Günter Grass, the second book of the Danzig Trilogy, and the sequel to The Tin Drum. It is about Joachim Mahlke, an alienated only child without a father. The narrator Pilenz "alone could be termed his friend, if it were possible to be friends with Mahlke" (p. 78); much of Pilenz's narration addresses Mahlke d (449 From 1001 Books) - Katz und Maus = Cat And Mouse (Die Danziger Trilogie = Danzig Trilogy #2), Günter Grass Cat and Mouse, published in Germany in 1961 as Katz und Maus, is a novella by Günter Grass, the second book of the Danzig Trilogy, and the sequel to The Tin Drum. It is about Joachim Mahlke, an alienated only child without a father. The narrator Pilenz "alone could be termed his friend, if it were possible to be friends with Mahlke" (p. 78); much of Pilenz's narration addresses Mahlke directly by means of second-person narration. The story is set in Danzig around the time of the Second World War and Nazi rule. موش و گربه - گونتر گراس (فرزان روز، پبام)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و دوم ماه آگوست سال 2010میلادی عنوان: موش و گربه؛ نویسنده: گراس گونتر؛ مترجم: کامران فانی؛ تهران، پیام، 1350؛ در 179ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، نشر و پژوهش فرزانروز؛ 1378؛ چاپ دوم 1379؛ چاپ پنجم 1388؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان آلمانی - سده 20م موش و گربه، دومین کتاب، از سه‌ گانه «دانتسیگ (پس از: «طبل حلبی»، و پیش از: «سال‌های سگی»)» است؛ این داستان، زندگی یک نوجوان یتیم را به نام: «یواخیم مالکه»، روایت می‌کند؛ راوی داستان، فردی به نام «پیلنتس» است، که خود را دوست «مالکه» میداند؛ بیشتر روایت «پیلنتس»، «مالکه» را به صورت دوم شخص، مخاطب قرار می‌دهد؛ داستان در شهر «دانتسیگ (گدانسک)»، و در زمان حکومت «نازی»، و جنگ جهانی دوم می‌گذرد؛ رمان «موش و گربه» را، «نشر و پژوهش فرزان روز» فراهم نموده، «مالکه» شخصیت اصلی داستان است، و راوی آن را نقل می­کند، راوی همه جا در کنار اوست، انگار همان «سانچو»، که همراه «دن‌ کیشوت» بود، رویدادها نیز، چون نیک بنگریم، همان رویدادهای «دن‌ کیشوت» هستند.؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Oh, I wonder! Filled with motivation to read my way through Günter Grass until summer, I started by rereading this novella which sits nicely between Tin Drum and Dog Years, accessible and direct in its approach to a youth spent under the spell of Hitler. And like the 3-year-old drummer, who has unexplained cameo appearances in the story, drumming up tension at crucial points without indicating his role as the master of another Grass novel, I feel that dark time and the place hover over me like a d Oh, I wonder! Filled with motivation to read my way through Günter Grass until summer, I started by rereading this novella which sits nicely between Tin Drum and Dog Years, accessible and direct in its approach to a youth spent under the spell of Hitler. And like the 3-year-old drummer, who has unexplained cameo appearances in the story, drumming up tension at crucial points without indicating his role as the master of another Grass novel, I feel that dark time and the place hover over me like a dark cloud. I hear the thunder, I feel the cold, I smell the rot of a childhood lived under the delusion of German nationalism. I don't have to close my eyes to imagine the terror of war that those boys born in the late 20s know by learning the form, function and destruction power of each vehicle and weapon by heart. I don't need to go outside in the middle of Scandinavian winter to feel the freezing cold of the water that the Grand Mahlke makes his hunting ground, diving to pick up souvenirs from a sunk ship in the bay. I know all that already, from Christa Wolf, from Thomas Mann, from Andersch, from Heinrich Böll, from every single witness of that hellish time. I know it was convincing to young boys (and girls), that they dreamt of being heroes, that they were influenced by friends coming back to hold burning speeches in their schools. I know they (mis)read Schiller to get the spirit of sacrifice right. I know they were afraid and excited, and that they had their personal problems and worries and losses to cope with while making decisions deciding over life or death, honour or shame, isolation or participation, at a time in their adolescence when nobody is old enough to make mature choices, especially not after ten years of Nazi childhood indoctrination. YEs, I know all that. And yet it hits me like a blizzard anyway. I can't stop that feeling in the pit of my stomach from growing. I feel it is hard to swallow, I feel like choking. And I wonder if that was a deliberate, intended side effect, to make it Mahlke's biggest worry how to hide his enormous Adam's apple? There is the religious implication of having been seduced, having eaten the apple, choking on the effect of being seduced by that ominous power. And there is the sad truth that youths will always do plenty of irrational things to cover up what they consider personally embarrassing. As a teacher, I have seen more than enough of that. Like the narrator, I feel like a pendulum, moving from seeing the story unfold in third person to directly speaking to "You", the vulnerable Joachim Mahlke, who was hunted down by the circumstances of his youth and sacrificed in the meaningless game of "Cat And Mouse" that nationalist hatred and delusion started. I check out for now, but I can never leave. Oskar Matzerath is drumming, and I will follow. Lured in by the power of Grass' mighty prose, I will follow him through the nightmare that was his time and place.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    A book by the German author who won the 1999 Nobel prize, best known for his novel The Tin Drum. The story is set during World War II in Danzig, a free city on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Germany until the Nazis took it over. Today it’s Gdansk, Poland. There are two main characters, two boys of early high school age, the only two Catholics who hang out with a group of ten or so Lutheran boys and occasionally girls. In summer they swim out daily to their hangout – a half sunken Polish minesw A book by the German author who won the 1999 Nobel prize, best known for his novel The Tin Drum. The story is set during World War II in Danzig, a free city on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Germany until the Nazis took it over. Today it’s Gdansk, Poland. There are two main characters, two boys of early high school age, the only two Catholics who hang out with a group of ten or so Lutheran boys and occasionally girls. In summer they swim out daily to their hangout – a half sunken Polish minesweeper some distance out in the harbor. One main character is the narrator who tells the story of the real main character who becomes the main theme of the book --- his radical changes over time. At first the main character is shy and awkward. Today we’d call him a geek or a dork. The other boys avoid him and make fun of him. He says he wants to be a professional clown. He’s tall and gangly with big ears and can’t even swim at first. (His huge Adam’s apple is a joke in the title of the book.) Since they often swim naked he’s also admired for the size of his, let’s say, ‘dangling participle.’ But once they teach him how to swim he becomes the best swimmer and diver among them. He’s the only one who dives underwater into the ship’s hold and daily starts bringing up medals, pictures, equipment, tools and even cans of food from the sunken part of the vessels. He transforms into a hero and the kids start calling him the “Great Mahlke.” Both the Catholic boys are very religious but in different ways. The narrator is a daily altar boy. The Great is excessively devout in taking communion but even his priest worries about his Mariolatry. The Great says “Of course I don’t believe in God. He’s just a swindle to stultify the people. The only thing I believe in is the Virgin Mary. That’s why I’m never going to get married,” The Great lives in a household of females – his mother and her female relatives. His father died before the war in a work accident. More transformations. He seems to disparage the Nazi war effort, listlessly singing patriotic songs and having the audacity to steal a medal from a visiting war hero speaking at their school. Yet as soon as he is old enough he suddenly runs off to enlist in the army and becomes a recognized war hero for shooting so many enemy tanks, which he writes home bragging about. He also acquires a reputation as a lady’s man, going after officers’ wives while men are at the front. He transforms again. Home on leave he suddenly announces he’s going AWOL and hides out on the boat with the help of his friend. To me, I did not get a good sense of what all these transformations were about or why they occurred. So a bit strange but the story moved along and kept my interest. It’s fairly short, less than 200 pages. We get snippets of ships and naval battle statistics. I thought it was a worthwhile read. 3.5 rounded up to 4. Top photo Gdansk today from pcdn.co/wp/2-Days-in-Gdansk Danzig after bombings from danzigfreestate.org photo of the author (1927-2015) from haaretz.com/polopoly

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    The brutal account of these kids in Danzig/Gdansk during the Hitler youth and the war is both chilling and poignant. It is the second volume of Grass' Danzig trilogy after The Tin Drummer and a fast but furious read. The characters are both repulsive and compelling and ow that we know that Grass was in the Hitler youth when he was 16, it is obviously a pretty damn accurate portrayal (better than the kid in All the Light We Cannot See in any case! I have to believe that Doer read this book and de The brutal account of these kids in Danzig/Gdansk during the Hitler youth and the war is both chilling and poignant. It is the second volume of Grass' Danzig trilogy after The Tin Drummer and a fast but furious read. The characters are both repulsive and compelling and ow that we know that Grass was in the Hitler youth when he was 16, it is obviously a pretty damn accurate portrayal (better than the kid in All the Light We Cannot See in any case! I have to believe that Doer read this book and derived part pf his from it). I felt it gave me the impression of being there - just as terrified and confused and conflicted as those kids were. A worthy second exploration into Grass.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert Beveridge

    I first read Cat and Mouse without the benefit of having read The Tin Drum beforehand, and I missed a lot. Cat and Mouse is the second book in Grass' Danzig Trilogy, three books that look at life in Danzig under the Nazi regime from three different points of view (the tales are told concurrently, and time can be fixed by seeing the same event from different points of view; for example, the picnic taken by the jazz trio and Schmuh in Book III of The Tin Drum shows up towards the end of Cat and Mo I first read Cat and Mouse without the benefit of having read The Tin Drum beforehand, and I missed a lot. Cat and Mouse is the second book in Grass' Danzig Trilogy, three books that look at life in Danzig under the Nazi regime from three different points of view (the tales are told concurrently, and time can be fixed by seeing the same event from different points of view; for example, the picnic taken by the jazz trio and Schmuh in Book III of The Tin Drum shows up towards the end of Cat and Mouse, and Matern, one of the main characters of Dog Years, shows up in The Onion Cellar, where Oskar's jazz band is retained, in The Tin Drum). Cat and Mouse is actually a novella, originally a part of Dog Years that broke off and took on a life of its own; on the surface it is the tale of Joachim Mahlke, a high school student with a protruding adam's apple (the Mouse of the title), and his fascination with a sunken Polish minesweeper after he learns to swim at the age of thirteen. It is also the story of Pilenz, the narrator and Mahlke's best friend. The two spend their high school years in wartime Poland, reacting to various things, and that's about as much plot as this little slice of life needs. The interesting thing about Cat and Mouse is its complete difference in tone from the other two novels. Both The Tin Drum and (what I've read so far of) Dog Years have the same high-pitched, almost hysterical humor combined with a profound sense of teleology (not surprising given the apocalyptic nature of life in Danzig under the Nazis); Grass attempts to confront the horror with over-the-top slapstick, because only through that kind of comparison is it possible to make the reader understand. But while Cat and Mouse has its moments of the same kind of ribald humor, it is more dignified, in a sense, and closer to reality; enough so, at least, that when the book reaches its inevitable climax and denoument, one feels more genuine, or more human, reactions to the fates of Pilenz and Mahlke than one does to Oskar, the hero of The Tin Drum. Perhaps that is why it was segmented off from Dog Years; perhaps there was another reason. Whatever the case, it stands on its own and as an integral part of Grass' magnum opus.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cody

    I honestly don't know how anyone could give this less than 5 stars. (Taste being subjective, I understand that we like what we like.) It's flawless, without an ounce of fat on it. After finishing The Tin Drum yesterday, I started Cat and Mouse this morning. Having had the chance to finish it this evening, I'm still sitting here, some hours later, floored by it. Achingly beautiful and haunting. If you're looking for The Tin Drum II, this isn't it. Better yet: it's an entirely different animal wit I honestly don't know how anyone could give this less than 5 stars. (Taste being subjective, I understand that we like what we like.) It's flawless, without an ounce of fat on it. After finishing The Tin Drum yesterday, I started Cat and Mouse this morning. Having had the chance to finish it this evening, I'm still sitting here, some hours later, floored by it. Achingly beautiful and haunting. If you're looking for The Tin Drum II, this isn't it. Better yet: it's an entirely different animal with no less an impact than its predecessor. In fact, I argue that its overall impact is greater, as is the book as a piece of art unto itself. There is some devastating beauty here...That rarest of things: a perfect book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Ostensibly set in the same world as The Tin Drum, although the little boy with the drum and the piercing shrieks barely makes an appearance. Really, it is more the story of an adolescence in the shadow of the Nazi regime, and how the regime shapes what would be an otherwise unremarkable teenage boy's life of hanging out at the beach and exploring old shipwrecks. Beautifully told, grotesquely real, and closer to Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea in tone than anything else. Ostensibly set in the same world as The Tin Drum, although the little boy with the drum and the piercing shrieks barely makes an appearance. Really, it is more the story of an adolescence in the shadow of the Nazi regime, and how the regime shapes what would be an otherwise unremarkable teenage boy's life of hanging out at the beach and exploring old shipwrecks. Beautifully told, grotesquely real, and closer to Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea in tone than anything else.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Calzean

    Its a simple enough story of a boy, Mahlke, who grows up in Danzing and goes to WWII. But the book is full of complexities, analogies and frequent shifts in the point of the narrator view. Mahlke's appearance is a bit of a joke and he has some odd characteristics. The story (I think) is how he (and others) are the hunted to a hungry uncaring society. Its a simple enough story of a boy, Mahlke, who grows up in Danzing and goes to WWII. But the book is full of complexities, analogies and frequent shifts in the point of the narrator view. Mahlke's appearance is a bit of a joke and he has some odd characteristics. The story (I think) is how he (and others) are the hunted to a hungry uncaring society.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Manisha

    I was disappointed in this second book of the trilogy. It was short, which is what I loved. And sadly, it was the only thing I loved about it. As with the first, this book is about the coming of age tale of a boy. In this case, the story was told by his best friend. It wasn't a horrible tale at all. The concept was brilliant, I thought, however, the execution fell flat. I just didn't care about the characters as I did in the first book. And it didn't help that I found this book boring for most o I was disappointed in this second book of the trilogy. It was short, which is what I loved. And sadly, it was the only thing I loved about it. As with the first, this book is about the coming of age tale of a boy. In this case, the story was told by his best friend. It wasn't a horrible tale at all. The concept was brilliant, I thought, however, the execution fell flat. I just didn't care about the characters as I did in the first book. And it didn't help that I found this book boring for most of it. Logically, I know the writing was good and the literary standard was met. However, this book just didn't sit well with me. Something was clearly missing, and after thinking about it for a day, I still don't know what it was.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tanuj Solanki

    Overshadowed, in literary discourse, by The Tin Drum. Exceptional three and half hour indulgence. 'The Baltic the colour of thick-glass seltzer bottles,' he says. 'Rain is a binder,' he says. 'I, Pilenz - what has my first name got to do with it - formerly an altar boy dreaming of every imaginable future, now the parish hall secretary, just can't let magic alone,' he says. Overshadowed, in literary discourse, by The Tin Drum. Exceptional three and half hour indulgence. 'The Baltic the colour of thick-glass seltzer bottles,' he says. 'Rain is a binder,' he says. 'I, Pilenz - what has my first name got to do with it - formerly an altar boy dreaming of every imaginable future, now the parish hall secretary, just can't let magic alone,' he says.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    If you've only read The Tin Drum, and you're looking for more Gunter Grass to read, this is the book for you. It's short and straightforward and quietly devastating. Beautiful and heartbreaking, this is a story about two school friends, taking place in Germany during World War II. Pilenz is one of a crowd of teenaged boys who like to hang out together at the beach, occasionally swimming out together to a partially submerged Polish minesweeper. Mahlke is just a kid who wants to belong. But Mahlke If you've only read The Tin Drum, and you're looking for more Gunter Grass to read, this is the book for you. It's short and straightforward and quietly devastating. Beautiful and heartbreaking, this is a story about two school friends, taking place in Germany during World War II. Pilenz is one of a crowd of teenaged boys who like to hang out together at the beach, occasionally swimming out together to a partially submerged Polish minesweeper. Mahlke is just a kid who wants to belong. But Mahlke is deeply flawed, Pilenz explains. He is independent, inventive, original and individual, at a time when it was deadly dangerous to deviate in any way from the crowd. With dread, the reader begins to understand that, in telling this story, the narrator is performing a kind of atonement, seeking to repent of an as-of-yet unnamed sin. A profoundly moving book. You don't have to look far to find the enemy, says Grass. He is already there, inside you, waiting for just the right time to pounce.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    If Germans were the ones known for magical realism, I think Cat and Mouse would kind of define the genre--dead pan, literal, and packed with tall tale-ish exageration more than pure and unbelievable magic. This is a story of two boys going about the very personal business of being boys, amidst the great geopolitical upheaval of their time. While their lives at times intersect with BIG history, it is the personal revolutions, ups and downs that define the narrative and motivate the characters. I If Germans were the ones known for magical realism, I think Cat and Mouse would kind of define the genre--dead pan, literal, and packed with tall tale-ish exageration more than pure and unbelievable magic. This is a story of two boys going about the very personal business of being boys, amidst the great geopolitical upheaval of their time. While their lives at times intersect with BIG history, it is the personal revolutions, ups and downs that define the narrative and motivate the characters. I loved this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kopinjol Baishya

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It is a great book of course. Gunter Grass never fails to impress. Its the second book of his Danzig trilogy. The other two being "The tin Drum" and "Dog Years". The portrays a protagonist who is at odds with his time. It is the time of war and Joachim Mahlke like Oscar Matzerath fails to come into terms with it. He was born one of natures tragic clowns, with an adam's apple that was as large as a mouse, but he became a hero and his only aspiration all along had been the chance to give a lectur It is a great book of course. Gunter Grass never fails to impress. Its the second book of his Danzig trilogy. The other two being "The tin Drum" and "Dog Years". The portrays a protagonist who is at odds with his time. It is the time of war and Joachim Mahlke like Oscar Matzerath fails to come into terms with it. He was born one of natures tragic clowns, with an adam's apple that was as large as a mouse, but he became a hero and his only aspiration all along had been the chance to give a lecture in the auditorium of his old school, the way one lieutenant colonel gave once, a lecture he had attended. But his aspiration could never become a reality. He was not allowed to give the presentation and it broke Mahlke to the point that he decided to give up the military and run away and hide in his underwater hideout. The writer witnessed him diving down into the sea but he never surfaced and that was the end of Joachim Mahlke and the novel.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Regina Andreassen

    A fantastic book, I read it in one night, I couldn't help it if was so engaging and clever! I will read it again soon. Cat and Mouse is the second book of a trilogy but I still haven't read the other book..are now in my 'to-read' list. A fantastic book, I read it in one night, I couldn't help it if was so engaging and clever! I will read it again soon. Cat and Mouse is the second book of a trilogy but I still haven't read the other book..are now in my 'to-read' list.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Not as good as 'Tin Drum'. A bit flawed. Rating: 4.1 stars. Not as good as 'Tin Drum'. A bit flawed. Rating: 4.1 stars.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ben Edwards

    “Perhaps if I rubbed my typewriter superficially with onion juice, it might communicate an intimation of the onion smell which in those years contaminated Germany, West Prussia and Langfuhr, Osterzeile as well as Westerzeile, preventing the smell of corpses from taking over completely” Enjoyed this little book quite a lot. It’s classic Günter Grass in the way it drops you into a situation and doesn’t do much to signpost the movement of the narrative. But that’s part of the appeal as it moves alon “Perhaps if I rubbed my typewriter superficially with onion juice, it might communicate an intimation of the onion smell which in those years contaminated Germany, West Prussia and Langfuhr, Osterzeile as well as Westerzeile, preventing the smell of corpses from taking over completely” Enjoyed this little book quite a lot. It’s classic Günter Grass in the way it drops you into a situation and doesn’t do much to signpost the movement of the narrative. But that’s part of the appeal as it moves along telling the story of childhood in Danzig in the Second World War. It gives an evocative account of the freedom of being a child at this time, punctuated periodically by the dark, uniform oversight of the Nazi state.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alex Cole

    If you're looking for a book as good as The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) in Grass' arsenal, you won't find it. Cat and Mouse (Katze und Maus), while lacking the scope and depth of Grass' first novel, makes up for it in intimacy and pathos. Cat and Mouse's plot is focused on two young boys, Mahlke & Pilenz, living in war-era Danzig. Mahlke is an unusual young boy, who dreams of glory in the Nazi military. Pilnenz is an altar boy who, enraptured by Mahlke, accompanies the young man on his odd excur If you're looking for a book as good as The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) in Grass' arsenal, you won't find it. Cat and Mouse (Katze und Maus), while lacking the scope and depth of Grass' first novel, makes up for it in intimacy and pathos. Cat and Mouse's plot is focused on two young boys, Mahlke & Pilenz, living in war-era Danzig. Mahlke is an unusual young boy, who dreams of glory in the Nazi military. Pilnenz is an altar boy who, enraptured by Mahlke, accompanies the young man on his odd excursions to a semi-submerged Polish warship. Pilenz narrates the story through ambiguous tone and person, characteristic of a Grass narrator, suggesting that the story given is not all it seems. The import of Cat and Mouse as a novel lies in the tragic pathos of its two characters. Mahlke wants glory to the point of endangering himself in a cause of which he does not comprehend the scope. Through his zeal and desperate need for approval, Mahlke is deprived of a childhood and a future and commits suicide (although this is left ambiguous.) Pilenz, on the other hand, leads a life unremarkable for his time; whereas Mahlke wishes to live up to his father, Pilenz has no great ambition beyond the "creature comforts" of petite-bourgeoisie bürgerism. Yet, Mahlke's life and tragic loss thereof, can only be recalled by Pilenz, someone who is, through no effort, clearly Mahlke's lesser. Yet, the real tragedy comes from the realization that the historical circumstances Mahlke and Pilenz are thrown into are, as Shakespeare writes, a lot of "sound and fury signifying nothing and told by fool." Mahlke's "greatness" consists not in his actions, but by his strangeness, which is not the legacy Mahlke wants. Again, what Cat and Mouse lacks in scope, it more than makes up for in intimacy. A recurring problem in Grass' writings is that events tend to overshadow characters, making relating to the novels difficult if one is unfamiliar with Grass or the history he covers. That vice is not present in "Cat and Mouse," making it one of the more emotionally-charged and compelling novels Grass has ever written in terms of its characters. Yet, the lack of historical scope is a problem for the novella inasmuch as Grass is much more compelling and comfortable in painting with large swaths over decades, sometimes even centuries of history. Thus, as much as Cat and Mouse gains in its characterization, it loses in its simplistic plot, making it more "conventional" than other novels by Grass. That being said, a more conventional Grass is still more unique of a voice than the vast majority of writers can even hope to aspire, making Cat and Mouse a very good introduction to Grass' fiction.

  18. 4 out of 5

    lavinia

    This is the kind of book that has a very specific flavor. I remember reading The Tin Drum years ago and, at the time, I liked it a lot, so I was very looking forward to reading this one. Unfortunately, although it has Gunter Grass written all over it and the storytelling is very attractive, I just couldn't relate to the book in any way. The story is about a young boy who gets very good at swimming, is very well respected by his friends, is rather ugly and, well, has really great sexual performanc This is the kind of book that has a very specific flavor. I remember reading The Tin Drum years ago and, at the time, I liked it a lot, so I was very looking forward to reading this one. Unfortunately, although it has Gunter Grass written all over it and the storytelling is very attractive, I just couldn't relate to the book in any way. The story is about a young boy who gets very good at swimming, is very well respected by his friends, is rather ugly and, well, has really great sexual performance. There isn't much more to be said. What I really enjoyed while reading this novella was the narrative style. The storyteller seems to be quite confused about the person he's talking to, and this gives the book a rather innocent feel. It's almost as if you're entering a private diary, you get to feel the narrator so close, as if he's sitting next to you and telling you about his friend. Of course, Gunter Grass is a genius and he did this on purpose. So, even though I didn't really enjoy this book so much, it was a warm read, the kind of book perfect for a lazy weekend, and it shouldn't be read while being in a hurry (especially since it has no real take-aways anyway). I actually got goosebumps when, around the middle of the book, there was a very clever reference to Oskar, the little boy with the tin drum (there you go, a spoiler).

  19. 4 out of 5

    pedro

    I just love coming to age books. One of liked before his onw, was Mishima Yukio The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea. That one is written ina very sublime way. This isnt as up there as "The sailor" but it's so so good. It's quite an introduction to Günter Grass work. I really got triggered and want to read the rest of the triology. The translation could be beter, but hey: it's Europa América, baby! Read it, well worth the time. I just love coming to age books. One of liked before his onw, was Mishima Yukio The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea. That one is written ina very sublime way. This isnt as up there as "The sailor" but it's so so good. It's quite an introduction to Günter Grass work. I really got triggered and want to read the rest of the triology. The translation could be beter, but hey: it's Europa América, baby! Read it, well worth the time.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ayla

    I read this book in German and I simply do not like it. I did not like the writing style: I was always re-reading sentences, trying to match the parts that belonged together. I have nothing against long sentences, but I do hate the 'Klammerkonstruktion', which is used a lot. And seriously, how much can you obsess over one man's adamsappel? I kept waiting for the story to lead to something, but sadly, it did not build to anything. There did not seem to be a point to the whole story. I know Günter I read this book in German and I simply do not like it. I did not like the writing style: I was always re-reading sentences, trying to match the parts that belonged together. I have nothing against long sentences, but I do hate the 'Klammerkonstruktion', which is used a lot. And seriously, how much can you obsess over one man's adamsappel? I kept waiting for the story to lead to something, but sadly, it did not build to anything. There did not seem to be a point to the whole story. I know Günter Grass is a beloved writer, but I simply do not get the attraction of this book and it did not encourage me to go out and read his other books.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ned

    This author captures my imagination like few others, fueled in part by my fascination of what (the hell) really happened in Germany that enabled the rise of 1930s Nazism in a modern European state. This little novel could have been a chapter in The Tin Drum, as its plot runs parallel and the little drummer brat even makes several cameo appearances. But compared to that Nobel prizewinning tome, this had a tight little poignant plot. The “great Mahlke”, so dubbed by a fairly unreliable narrator, i This author captures my imagination like few others, fueled in part by my fascination of what (the hell) really happened in Germany that enabled the rise of 1930s Nazism in a modern European state. This little novel could have been a chapter in The Tin Drum, as its plot runs parallel and the little drummer brat even makes several cameo appearances. But compared to that Nobel prizewinning tome, this had a tight little poignant plot. The “great Mahlke”, so dubbed by a fairly unreliable narrator, is a reluctant schoolboy hero. His stature is exalted by his mates due to his boldness, physical endowment, his eccentricity, and seemingly unabashed fearlessness of authority. The figures in power include the school administration and the church (the polish priest figures prominently); necessary forces because the two buddies have both lost their fathers (we shall get to mothers shortly). Without fathers, these lads run wild, including exploration of a sunken Polish barge in the harbor, where proving one’s mettle in diving and discovery is where the spindly Mahlke first gains the respect of his peers. The title of this book is an odd obsession with the hero’s prominent Adam’s apple (the “mouse”) and a prank where “cat” was placed on his neck by the narrator (or approached on its own, the story changes throughout the book, hence the unreliability). The things Mahlke hangs to cover his neck vary widely, ultimately being the iron cross, that symbol of Nazi identity and accomplishment, after he is conscripted and distinguishes himself in battle (as in all other endeavors, as our hero is intelligent and driven to excellence in all manner). But, alas, the boys are poor and fatherless, and cannot prevent being pulled into the all consuming war effort: They use the priest as a wedge. Mahlke becomes a devoted supplicant of the holy mother, which the narrator takes keen interest in since his own does not love him, and carouses with men as she pleases. This book is a coming of age story or boys and the bonds they form, just below the radar of their country’s most inauspicious time in history, seeking respite out on the old barge which becomes a type of imaginary fortitude and the final calamitous act of the novel. Only 4 stars due to the brevity of this novel and I found its style distracting (Grass changes the narrative to a letter to his friend, alternating within a paragraph the third and first person). But overall an important read for its raw emotive power and authored by an authentic native who lived through it and thus an unfiltered account during the rise of fascist Germany. I will continue to read this author, he has a colorful history himself. p. 120, hints of pedophilia from the trusted priest, for a book written in 1960 that speaks volumes today: “Once when I was about thirteen, her ran his small, hairless hand down my back under my shirt from my neck to the waist of my gym shorts, but stopped there because my shorts had no elastic band and I tied them front with tapes. I didn’t give the incident much thought, for Father Gusewski had won my sympathy with his ironic benevolence; so not another word about the occasional wanderings of his hand; all perfectly harmless, it was my Catholic should he was looking for. All in all, he was a priest like hundreds of others; he maintained a well-selected library for a working-class congregation that read little; his zeal was not excessive, his belief had its limits- in regard to the Assumption, for instance- and he always spoke whether over the corporal about the blood of Christ or in the sacristy about ping-pong, in the same tone of unctuous serenity.” Later (p. 123), worried about Mahlke’s fervor: “Yes, Father Gusewski was worried; it had seemed to him for some time that regardless of what inner affliction brought Mahlke to the altar, his cult of the Virgin bordered on pagan idolatry.” The protagonist, PIlenz, missing his friend after he was expelled from school and moved to another, perhaps revealing a deeper longing (p. 136): “Until summer we lived at the shore battery, played endless games of handball, and on visiting Sundays rollicked to the best of our ability in the beach thistles, always with the same girls or their sisters; I alone accomplished nothing at all. Hesitation was my trouble; I haven’t got over it yet, and this weakness of mine still inspires me with the same ironical reflections.”

  22. 5 out of 5

    Book Wormy

    I gave this 4 stars. I think there is a lot of it I don't understand but what I did (or think I did) understand was beautifully crafted. Having researched more about Grass after reading this it has become clear that this is a largely autobiographical novel, there are too many similarities between the author and the narrator for that not to be the case. This is the 2nd book in the Danzig trilogy and I love the way the protagonist from The Tin Drum turns up at seemingly random points throughout the I gave this 4 stars. I think there is a lot of it I don't understand but what I did (or think I did) understand was beautifully crafted. Having researched more about Grass after reading this it has become clear that this is a largely autobiographical novel, there are too many similarities between the author and the narrator for that not to be the case. This is the 2nd book in the Danzig trilogy and I love the way the protagonist from The Tin Drum turns up at seemingly random points throughout the narrative. At its heart this is a coming of age story about 2 boys caught up in a horrific moment in history. While the war is largely in the background they are not unaffected by it, everyone has lost loved ones to the war and the boys are all keen to sign up and become heroes. At a time when it is dangerous to stand out the central character Mahlke is proud to go his own way, to be the best at everything he attempts and he is even a reluctant hero. By the end of the novel it appeared to me that Mahlke had begun to question whether what he was doing was actually heroic or not. My favourite line "You assume that two parallel lines meet at infinity. You'll admit that adds up to something like transcendence."

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ziggy

    Even though I remember liking Grass at university, I hadn't touched any of his books since and was almost a little apprehensive. I need not have been! While the style took some getting used to this is and remains an excellent portrait of German adolescents. The fact that the story takes place during the war provides a rather sinister context, which only becomes apparent slowly during the course of the book, as you begin to realise that the narrator is hiding something, and something rather serio Even though I remember liking Grass at university, I hadn't touched any of his books since and was almost a little apprehensive. I need not have been! While the style took some getting used to this is and remains an excellent portrait of German adolescents. The fact that the story takes place during the war provides a rather sinister context, which only becomes apparent slowly during the course of the book, as you begin to realise that the narrator is hiding something, and something rather serious at that. At university, not knowing as much about German culture and daily life as I do now, I didn't 'get' even half of what I did this time around, making it much more interesting. Even without this knowledge, however, this is well worth the read!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristel

    Read for 1001, BOTM October 2019. This is the second book in the Danzig Trilogy but other than a couple of cameo appearance of the little drummer, it is not necessary to have read The Tin Drum first in my opinion. I enjoyed this one so much more than the first book. The story is about The Great Mahlke as he is eventually labeled by his adolescent peer. Mahlke is an awkward youth with an enormously large Adam's apple. The story opens with the description of a cat pouncing on Mahlke's Adam apple. Read for 1001, BOTM October 2019. This is the second book in the Danzig Trilogy but other than a couple of cameo appearance of the little drummer, it is not necessary to have read The Tin Drum first in my opinion. I enjoyed this one so much more than the first book. The story is about The Great Mahlke as he is eventually labeled by his adolescent peer. Mahlke is an awkward youth with an enormously large Adam's apple. The story opens with the description of a cat pouncing on Mahlke's Adam apple. The story is told by an unreliable, unnamed narrator, until the 8th chapter when we finally are given the name Pilenz. The boys spend their days swimming out to a sunken boat and sit on the ships bridge which rises a little above water and represents the destructiveness of war. The title, Cat and Mouse, can be taken as a metaphor of war, society, and victim or it can be a description of the relationship of our narrator (the observer) and Mahlke the performer. Is Pilenz the cat who stalks Mahlke, the mouse. Is Pilenz writing a confession or is this a game of Cat and Mouse? The story is a coming of age story of adolescent boys at a time where they are facing war after they are no longer school boys. There is some crudity and sexual themes but then, isn't adolescent boys full of crudity and sexual talk? A story of boyhood and adolescence in WWII Danzig. Symbols and motifs abound. The Adam's apple and the objects that are hung around his neck; screwdriver, virgin Mary necklace, pom poms, mufflers, Iron Cross. The atmosphere is one of impending crisis. The reader is drawn along, knowing no good will be the conclusion to the study of Mahlke by this Pilenz. Rating 3.5, but I liked it more than 3 so rounding it to 4.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    I picked up this book because I became fascinated by the city of Danzig (today known as Gdańsk, Poland)when looking through some old papers my mother sent me and learning my great-great grandmother met my great-great grandfather met there (both ethnic Germans). This led me through a vast array of wikipedia articles, and the history of this place on the Baltic Coast is turbulent and fascinating. I have much to learn. Admittedly, I prefer novels that evoke a sense of place over nonfiction history b I picked up this book because I became fascinated by the city of Danzig (today known as Gdańsk, Poland)when looking through some old papers my mother sent me and learning my great-great grandmother met my great-great grandfather met there (both ethnic Germans). This led me through a vast array of wikipedia articles, and the history of this place on the Baltic Coast is turbulent and fascinating. I have much to learn. Admittedly, I prefer novels that evoke a sense of place over nonfiction history books. This is the first book by Gunter Grass I've read and it is the second in a so-called Danzig Trilogy. It's quite short, but very rich in character and setting. It's an interesting look at a particular type of motivation, a particular type of soldier's motivation. But the moments of warfare come late in the book and are not dealt with directly. The greater part of the novel is a recollection of a group of friends, and especially an awkward, peculiarly determined individual - most of the memories centered around them hanging out on and exploring a sunken Polish minesweeper partially submerged in the Baltic. The way Grass portrays his narrator's memory was very exciting.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount)

    If this book had been published in our modern era, it would have been released as a YA title, since it is set in an elite high school, in German-occupied Poland during WW2. It shows a different side of the war, where the war is relatively far off, intruding into the lives of the boys in the story through sunken military vessels and worries about volunteering for military training and the constant possibility of losing a loved one who is off fighting. The story is tense, but the boys and their te If this book had been published in our modern era, it would have been released as a YA title, since it is set in an elite high school, in German-occupied Poland during WW2. It shows a different side of the war, where the war is relatively far off, intruding into the lives of the boys in the story through sunken military vessels and worries about volunteering for military training and the constant possibility of losing a loved one who is off fighting. The story is tense, but the boys and their teachers are trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy despite the fact that the world outside their immediate area is far from normal and definitely unsafe. I was a bit annoyed at all the suspense Grass builds into the narrative, since most of it falls flat. The narrator keeps saying 'if only' as if the choices he made led to some terrible disaster, but when the story ends, the narrator doesn't seem at all upset about the terrible disaster. This inconsistency extends beyond the central 'conflict', and robs the story of its momentum. But as a literary novel this was a pretty good, and short book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hanne

    This book reminds me a little of the Great Gatsby, only i liked it better. It has the same neutral, absent narrator who talks to us about this man he knew: Joachim Mahlke. Mahlke is mysterious, a little weird, but none-the-less someone the narrator looks up to: the great Mahlke. (And this is not me inventing that nickname, it is actually used in the book). The story takes place in Danzig, currently known as the Polish city Gdansk, during the early 1940s. It is however not your normal war-book; t This book reminds me a little of the Great Gatsby, only i liked it better. It has the same neutral, absent narrator who talks to us about this man he knew: Joachim Mahlke. Mahlke is mysterious, a little weird, but none-the-less someone the narrator looks up to: the great Mahlke. (And this is not me inventing that nickname, it is actually used in the book). The story takes place in Danzig, currently known as the Polish city Gdansk, during the early 1940s. It is however not your normal war-book; the war is not what this book is about, it's just part of the context, part of what people in those years had to deal with. I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. The first couple of pages were a bit difficult, and you have to get used the writing-style, but afterwards it reads very fast. You're just totally taken by the story and you want to learn more about Mahlke and what happened to him. And that is a feeling i never had with the Great Gatsby.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    This is the middle book in Grass' Weimar trilogy, and as such, it is an unusual middle child. It does not suffer from the neglect the middle usually receives, because it is a different type of book, and stands alone. Nowhere as magical as The Tin Drum, it is still a story that has an other-worldly quality to it, because the principal characters are schoolboys growing in Weimar Germany. Joachim Mahlke, the main character, dives for artifacts from a half-sunken minesweeper. His greatest treasure, This is the middle book in Grass' Weimar trilogy, and as such, it is an unusual middle child. It does not suffer from the neglect the middle usually receives, because it is a different type of book, and stands alone. Nowhere as magical as The Tin Drum, it is still a story that has an other-worldly quality to it, because the principal characters are schoolboys growing in Weimar Germany. Joachim Mahlke, the main character, dives for artifacts from a half-sunken minesweeper. His greatest treasure, though, is a medal, around which the rest of the story revolves. The narrator, Pilenz, describes not just the goings-on of "The Great Mahlke," but occasionally references a small boy with a tin drum, none other than Oskar Matzerath.

  29. 5 out of 5

    David

    There is a great deal going on in this work for it being such a small book. Wistful, emotionally-gripping, vividly described, no excessive ornamentation, this book is a wonderful little gem. It is a strange one, but delightfully so. I chewed right through it; I couldn't put it down. After how much I liked this one, I'll definitely be checking out some other Grass. There is a great deal going on in this work for it being such a small book. Wistful, emotionally-gripping, vividly described, no excessive ornamentation, this book is a wonderful little gem. It is a strange one, but delightfully so. I chewed right through it; I couldn't put it down. After how much I liked this one, I'll definitely be checking out some other Grass.

  30. 5 out of 5

    carl theaker

    A remembrance of Grass' mid-teen years through a friend, Joachim Mahlke. Grass' usual effective, nostalgic look at kids growing up, in this case WWII Germany, doing all the things young boys do everywhere, memorizing statistics of airplanes and battleships, having secret hiding places, enduring routines, and going off to war. A remembrance of Grass' mid-teen years through a friend, Joachim Mahlke. Grass' usual effective, nostalgic look at kids growing up, in this case WWII Germany, doing all the things young boys do everywhere, memorizing statistics of airplanes and battleships, having secret hiding places, enduring routines, and going off to war.

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