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Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family (Vintage International) Library Binding – 26 Jun 2008


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Library Binding, 26 Jun 2008
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
£16.75 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 1 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.



Product details

  • Library Binding
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439507414
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439507414
  • Product Dimensions: 3.6 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 645,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Perhaps the first great novel of the 20th century" (New York Times)

"One of the best novels of the 20th century" (Guardian)

"That definitive epic of German family life" (Irish Times)

"His masterpiece" (Los Angeles Times)

"Has extraordinary value as a document over and above its importance as literature. The friendly dispassionateness of the book, the amplitude, the final perfection of clearness, make it as satisfying as a Dürer drawing" (Observer)

"An absorbing, well-observed, almost film-like telling of a family in Lubeck over a generation or two" (Independent)

"A detailed portrait of a family and its destructive impact" (New York Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Mann's semi-autobiographical and sweeping family epic. The book that won him the Nobel Prize for Literature --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Aug 2002
Format: Paperback
i've read Buddenbrooks twice & hope to read it again a.s.a.p.(i'm
a voracious reader so finding time is a problem!!).Having initially read "The Magic Mountain" which i also enjoyed(though
found much of the philosophical stuff difficult),Buddenbrooks was
a revelation due to the sense of place,period & Mann's ability to
create characters i really cared about...but also,just a fine
story of the life & times of one 19th century family.Its written
with such clarity,elegance & assurance that i felt Mann was giv-
ing me the biography of his own forbears.
The leisurely pace,the attention to detail(such as dress,house-
furnishings,cuisine etc)& the varying individual traits of the
family members & other characters in the book all combined to give it a sparkle & vividness which i rarely find in most modern
fiction;it seems to me that writing of this calibre is now a
thing of the past,something to be lamented along with the passing of the times the author describes.
In these very different days in which we live,its truly a
pleasure to be transported by way of literature to a past which
has gone forever..though, thanks to Mann, still there to be
discovered & meditated upon.
Am i a romantic escapist? Well...i'd have to confess i am if its an escape to a milieu of this class & quality,one that makes
you sorry when you reach the final page.To me, a shimmering
jewel of a novel. If you havent read it, i hope i may have
persuaded you to do so...just a teeny little bit ?
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 April 1999
Format: Paperback
(John E. Woods' new translation is highly regarded. For me, the tone of it seems a bit too contemporary for the text, but I presume it's a big advance over the previous translation which I haven't checked out.) Since this is a big complex multi-generational family saga of 730 pages, I figured I'd better draw up a list of characters as I read. However, after I had a list of about 75 characters, and sensing that there were hundreds more to come, I realized that such a list wasn't really necessary, for the book was written in such a way that it was very easy to remember who was who. This is an intimidating novel, but it turns out to be a surprisingly easy read. One also cares very much for the various characters, and has affection for them as if they were real, which they very well might have been. One is there when they are born, and when they are married, and when they die, generation by generation. It is amazing that Mann could have written such an ambitious book at such an early age (it was published in his 25th year), but it is much more than ambitious, it is very sophisticated, and very wise and profound in many ways. This is a book that can teach anyone at any age many things about human nature, or if not teach at least remind and/or clarify. I certainly feel as if I was learning a lot about the kind of social milieu my grandparents grew up in. The novel doesn't attempt to tie every single one of its "loose ends" at the end, but it has a grace and elegance that is very compelling from beginning to end. The society it portrays, in Lubeck Germany during the 19th century, is not particularly attractive one, and it is not one which one feels nostalgic for. It is gone for ever, but one does not wish it back. Number 8 on the Fireside Reading Club "A"-List, read 2/20/96.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Ms. A. Kendal on 17 Oct 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Buddenbrooks may look and sound to the prespective reader like a massive challenge, but Thomas Mann's first novel, published when he was 25, is remarkable for many things and not least of these is the ease with which it can be read.
Opening in 1835, it charts the lives of the Buddenbrooks through some 40 years, following the decline of this successful Hanseatic family. But Mann's magnum opus - it was cited on his 1929 Nobel Prize for Literature - is more than that: what it presents is a detailed and complex social view of a changing Germany, particularly taking in the turbulence of the revolutionary period around 1848 to the years after unification under Bismarck in 1871.
From a position of social and economic authority, the Buddenbrooks' confidence and power is overtaken by events around them until they are, finally, reduced to an insignificant echo of a former age. Their inability to move with the times, even though they are not incapable of seeing the changes around them, renders them impotent in the face of passing history.
The only Buddenbrook who survives is Antonie... not because of her flexibility however, but precisely because her childlike petulance and unquestioning faith in the status quo allows her to maintain her arrogant assumptions about the social position of the family and, therefore, her own role within it. And yet this belligerent refusal to move forward is a major factor in the family's decline.
Buddenbrooks also works so well because of Mann's dispassionate portrayal of his characters and their disappearing world. His gentle irony, particularly in terms of dealing with religion, provides the reader with a constant intellectual challenge. And, while it was first published in 1901, this is a book that never feels dated.
A little knowledge of 19th century German history helps, but is not essential to enjoying this absolutely superb novel.
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