on 21 April 2010
Like many of Herman Hesse's work this is a life affirming book. If you are not familiar with his novels I would suggest this is a great place to start. The language used is beautifully simple, but also deals with the "big" themes in life such as
Why are we all here?
What should we do on this earth, when the only thing we can be certain of is that we will die?
Is it advantageous in life to be young and carefree, or old and wise?
Knulp is a tramp, but his personality and appearance contradicts many of the stereotypes that we have of tramps and the travelling lifestyle. He likes to keep clean. His clothes although worn, are neat and tidy. He also has impeccable manners and an eye for the ladies. Consequently, he is loved by the people in the surrounding towns and villages of his local "habitat"
The beauty of this book is that it is well written, but anyone who can read reasonably well can understand it.
I would recommend it to anybody - old or young.
I would also suggest that if you are feeling "down in the dumps" and brassed off with life it is a great book to read as a) is short and b) reading it is akin to sitting under a tree and watching the world go by on a perfect day where the temperature is not to hot and not too cold.
In short "Its a breeze"
on 4 February 2011
This short novella reads like a fairy tale. Simple to read, it describes a time and culture long gone, and yet is essentially about universal things that still apply today. The life of the single vagabond poet is contrasted with that of settled hard-working family life. At first I found myself wondering what the point of it all was, but in due course the story unfolds...and there is a message, 'spiritual', if you like - a sort of parable. The writing is simple, has a lightness of touch, a subtlety, a strong connection with Nature, and a mysterious depth. A bit like a haiku, perhaps. I love the cover of this old Picador edition - which has a painting of a grey-suited adult staring, apparently reprovingly, at a guilty-looking child in a garden. This picture for me captures the essence of the book perfectly.