The story of a man who intellectualized himself into being a pompous recluse- Then tore down those classist/sophisticate protections that were imprisoning him. And, perhaps it's good to have the humility to believe your icons would laugh at you. Interestingly, there's also comments (written before You-Know-Who really had massive sway) about the German populace wanting to get right back into a war; how they were ignoring 'the millions in the ground' in coming to this feeling. He also alludes to his actual troubles during WW I when he made an inadvertent comment and got (figuratively) ripped apart by the militarists. Hesse, in life, finally admitted he 'drank the Kool-Aid;' writing for consumption and not truth.
I profoundly enjoyed this book, however you can not read this book for merely the story, you really have to think about what is going on, and think about whether certain parts are simply symbolism, or actually taking place. If you stop and think throughout the book about Haller's perception of the world, and his interactions with it you will find that it much more enjoyable and a rewarding experience!
what I saw parallels with, is, Kafka. " 'Pablo!' I cried, with a convulsive start. 'Pablo, where are we?' 'we are in my magic theatre,' he said, with a smile, 'and if you wish at any time to learn the tango or to be a general or to have a talk with alexander the great, it is always at your service, but I am bound to say, harry, you have disappointed me a little. you forgot yourself badly. you broke through the humor of my little theatre and tried to make a mess of it, stabbing with knives and spattering our pretty picture-world with the mud of reality. that was not pretty of you.' "Mozart looked at me with intolerable mockery,'how pathetic you always are....off with you to the public prosecutor and let the law take its course with you till your head is coolly hacked off at the break of dawn in the prison courtyard.'" "she drew my hands slowly to her lips and laid them beneath the clothes on her warm and evenly breathing breast...slowly I drew the clothes from her lovely body till my kisses reached her feet. when I lay down beside her, her flower face smiled back at me omniscient and bountiful."
Can anyone else see parallels between this book and Mulholland Drive?
28/1 - The opening chapter, the 'editor's note', was quite interesting, but now that we've moved on to Haller's words I'm bored to sleep (as opposed to tears). I really have no idea what he's waffling on about. I see a DNF looming in the near, if not immediate, future. I was able to get it renewed at the library, so I've got till the 17th to make up my mind. Btw, as far as I'm concerned, as long as I attempt the book it still counts towards my PopSugar Challenge, so I feel no compulsion to keep reading just for the challenge. I think that's fair and keeping to the rules, so there. To be continued...
30/1 - I give up! This may be TMI, but I always take a book with me to the toilet. There, I said it. I read in the toilet. Anyway, I read the last 18 pages during my most recent visit to the throne room, so this damn book had a pretty captive audience. It's not like I could put it down and go get another one mid visit. I was going to attempt to make it to 100 pages before I threw my hands up in disgust, but while reading just now I realised that I was reading the words but nothing was making any sense. I was reading the book within the book, the pamphlet Haller found in his pocket, 'On Steppenwolf: A Tract. Not for everybody.' The main things I got from this book within a book were that Hesse seemed to be being vaguely insulting to people with suicidal ideations and that there was way too much 'deep thought' going on within the plot. I've read a few classics in the last year, but this has to be the most difficult and the most filled with subtext and themes. Below is the final passage that just tipped me over the edge to DNF.
'Only humour - the splendid invention of those highly talented but unfortunate individuals who are frustrated in the pursuit of the highest ideals, figures bordering on the tragic - only humour (possibly the most original and brilliant of humankind's achievements) can accomplish the otherwise impossible feat of uniting all spheres of human life by bathing them in the iridescent light of its prisms. To live in the world as though it were not the world, to respect the law but to remain above it, to have possessions 'as if not possessing', to renounce things as though it were no renunciation: all the things asked of us in such well-loved and frequently expressed words of wisdom can only be put into practice through humour.'
What the HELL does all that MEAN? That indecipherable paragraph was the final straw for my overloaded brain. So I quit! DNF at page 59, but this attempt still applies for my PopSugar Reading Challenge.
A classic written for the 5% who could understand the intricate forms of story and not stray along the way.
I'm glad I pushed through the miserable first 100 pages.
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