I have read this book last week, and I must say I struggled to finish it, still finding many interesting points along the story. The book has been adapted to a film and has been a big success in France. Still, I found that the characters shared many thought processes and action patterns, and it made them unrealistically similar in my eyes, despite being women, men, of different origins and living in different contexts. I found that some of the scenes were resolved too quickly for my needs, with a spectacular, film-like action, but that left me with open questions. I liked the ending the most, and some non obvious plot developments.
I am more puzzled by my reaction to the book, rather than by the actual content. I haven’t read a novel since a long time, and it felt odd to be in a story generated by the mind of another person. I feel that my review is harsh and that I missed the many inspiring points, but at the moment they are not accessible to me. That’s why I wish to recommend the book anyway and welcome you to write your impressions in the comments!
An absolute classic, about which I am a bit intimidated to write. But I am moved by how close I felt to the people and events related in the book. I read it in French and I found the language and form very pleasant, elegantly aged. I wonder how it feels to read it in the original version, and in the many translations.
I remember the impact with the first pages of the book. Even more than with Barkskins, I started at my standard reading speed (a reading trot!), but, as soon as Hans Castorp arrives at the sanatorium, the rhythm of the narration slows down so abruptly that I felt like falling in a metre of soft snow. I was stuck for a couple paragraphs, then found out how to wade forward by reading much slower, paying attention to every word, stopping sometimes to think about a line.
It has been a deeply fascinating read. I felt a lot of affinity with Hans Castorp’s thoughts and discussions about the world and the meaning of life, and I suppose this is because I am, like him, currently sitting away from the world’s continuous, sometimes frenetic, activities. I sympathise with his unheroic stance, his trembling look up to the higher truths that stand white and tall like sublime but also dangerous mountain peaks. This novel is an incredibly detailed soul journey. I hope that my heartfelt review will encourage you to give a look at this book 🙂 – and as usual, let me know your impressions in the comments!