Die Blechtrommel was the first German novel that I read, and the one of the first lengthy novels that I attempted in any language. Unfortunately,it was also one of the first fiction books which I didn't finish. I really feel like it loses steam when Oskar is relocated to the Rhineland. (And evidentally Schlöndorff felt the same way, since that's where he chooses to conclude his film adaptation.) But up until then I enjoyed it immensely.
I wasn't sure, however, if it was a lucky shot, like Heller's Catch 22 or Salinger's Catcher in the rye, since I heard mixed reviews of his other works. Recently, though, I've gotten enthusiastic recommendations of Der Butt, so I may give that a try after all.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons