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You get back far more than what you put in,
This review is from: Siddhartha (Paperback)I read this book in German (oh, hark at me!) but the language in it is so beautifully simple that I am sure the English translation provides an accurate rendering of the original.
I would recommend Siddhartha to everyone. The fairy-tale-like atmosphere it evokes and its simple prose make it immediately accessible, and its brevity makes it readable even for those who are not otherwise avid readers.
The message in it is deceptively simple: the way to contentment lies in a full experience and acceptance of all aspects of life, a willing resignation to the fact that things as they are is the only way they can and must be. Neither the life of the body nor that of the mind should be neglected and rejected out-of-hand; indeed Siddhartha is only able to find a permanent and stable inner peace once he has experienced all manners of excess, showing that understanding demands familiarity with what is to be understood.
I can understand why some comments refer to the book's ability to have a life-changing effect, but this was not the case with me, perhaps because I could not help keeping a distance from the message. A few aspects of the story didn't sit right with me. Siddhartha's discovery of inner peace I could well understand, for his life had been filled with all manner of varied experiences; but was the same true of Vasudeva or Gotama? How were they able to experience that same level of enlightenment without having had the variety of experience that cannot be denied of Siddhartha? There are other contentious points I would like to raise but they relate to the book's end and I wouldn't want to spoil it for those who are yet to read it!
This is a gem of a book and a real rarity considering what you get out of so few pages.