Top critical review
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Poetic prose especially in the detailed descriptions
on 18 May 2008
"Letters to a young poet" made me interested in Rilke, and therefore "The Notebooks of Malthe Laurids Brigge" founds it way to my night stand.
Rilke's voice is very different in the two. "Notebooks" seems so much more orchestrated and not as quotable or easily read as "Letters". However, "Notebooks" has its own sombre drift that carries you - the reader - into the realm of the young Brigge, his thoughts and his childhood. What I like about the medium of a notebooks is its authenticity. It has the detail and rigid structure of many real notebooks and diaries, unlike many of fictional diaries that read as one continuous line of thought. This makes "Notebooks" personal and I found myself absorbing the thoughts.
Also "Notebooks" is to be read slowly or aloud to savor the poetry of the words. There are truly beautiful, detailed descriptions in "Notebooks" and I would recommend the book for this reason alone.
I was extremely grateful for the section of notes in the back of the book. Rilke makes reference to 14th century French kings, dukes and other noblemen, that I was completely unaware of.
I am sure that "Notebooks" deserve more than 3 stars. However, I must admit that my understanding of "Notebooks" only results in 3 stars. There is much in "Notebooks" to be analysed and deciphered.