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Profound and heavy
on 6 May 2015
This is a profound study of a lonely, unhappy man suffering from a detached intellect and incurable cynicism. The book is intelligent both in the depth of its character study and the manner of the writing. You get the feeling as soon as you read the introduction by Hesse discussing the meaning of the book - a dangerous topic for a critic, let-alone the author, and yet Hesse handles it safely and adroitly.
Several of Hesse's novels rank among my very favourites and at first I thought this would be another. As I went on, the weight of it gradually wore me down. It is more of an essay than a narrative and though I admired it and liked it in principle, after a while it became too dull and I stopped reading.
3 stars is the maximum rating I will give a book that I didn't enjoy enough to finish, but it has much to recommend it and if you think you have the stomach for such a read please don't be put off.