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Siddhartha [Paperback]

Hermann Hesse
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 16 2008
Written and published in German in 1922, this simple and lyrical tale of a young man's path to enlightenment wasn't translated into English until the 1950's. It deeply influenced the spiritual movements of the 1960's, including the New Age movement. The name Siddhartha means one who has attained his goal or, every wish fulfilled. The mythical journey of Siddhartha, during the time of the Great Buddha, has served as a guide and inspiration to generations of seekers whose goal has been the attainment of Enlightement. Siddhartha treads paths we are all familiar with; faithful child, rebellious son, successful businessman, passionate lover, and finally, Wisdom, and Oneness with the river of Life. Come with Siddhartha on his journey.... through thickets, and gardens, fields of grain and along the river. It is a soul journey that will remain with you always.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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From Library Journal

Siddhartha's life takes him on a journey toward enlightenment. Afire with youthful idealism, the Brahmin joins a group of ascetics, fasting and living without possessions. Meeting Gotama the Buddha, he comes to feel this is not the right path, though he also declines joining the Buddha's followers. He reenters the world, hoping to learn of his own nature, but instead slips gradually into hedonism and materialism. Surfeited and disgusted, he flees from his possessions to become a ferryman's apprentice, learning what lessons he can from the river itself. Herman Hesse's 1922 Bildungsroman parallels the life of Buddha and seems to argue that lessons of this sort cannot be taught but come from one's own struggle to find truth. Noted actor Derek Jacobi interprets this material wonderfully, and the package, despite abridging a Nobel prize winner's prose, can be highly recommended.AJohn Hiett, Iowa City P.L.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Review

"No living English-speaking actor outshines Derek Jacobi, nor any audiobook reader for that matter. He sings, rather than speaks, with extraordinary lyricism, expressiveness and depth...Jacobi approached the text with a direct, childlike fervor. He brings home the subtleties of Siddhartha's inner journey with amazing clarity and resonance, which he makes more exciting than the most thrilling thriller." -- AudioFile, October/November 1998 --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Library Binding
I have read Siddhartha several times. Each time I have read it was at a critical period of my life. The answer to the question of where does my path lie is always answered. If you have not read it, I heartily recommend it. If you have read it and enjoyed it as I have, I feel we have shared a tremendous experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Special Oct. 24 1997
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
I read this book when I was 19. I am now 51. Having just discovered Amazon Books, I was "surfing" and searching out titles that came to memory. I also read the lyrical version in German in those now distant days, and spent much time looking for "Suleika", or "Zuleika". It brought me great peace of mind at that time, as I had to interrupt my college days in order to enter the Army and go to Vietnam. The book reads like the flowing river, and is in some ways an eternal story of search for meaning in life and realization. Like Sidhartha our search for meaning often ends at the beginning. Ultimately, we return to the basic and simple truths that were there when we were born. Growing up is a kind of struggle. Sidhartha is a story of idealism and virtue that survives ignorance, futility and evil. If in the end, we retain that idealism, our lives can be heroic and our conscience pure. Sometimes, I remember and recall the words: "From Sidhartha to Sidhartha is my coming and my going." It is a book of haunting beauty and depth of meaning. W. H. L./Bellevue
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5.0 out of 5 stars An old friend transformed Dec 6 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For those who have reached a certain age, returning to this book, read in youth, can be a wonderful experience. The final scene of the story illustrates this perfectly. Of course to come back to it, one must meet it the first time, and I encourage all to take that journey.

There are a large number of "typos," though none are indecipherable, but out of respect for the work, they should be corrected.

There is a lifetime worth of experience here. I encourage all to enter in.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, inspiring and lyrical June 19 2012
By G. Larouche TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Do not let the book's shortness mislead you: Hesse managed to pack more beauty, inspiration and faith in those 100 pages than some people write in an entire lifetime. It can be read in a couple of days, even in an evening, and I suggest to re-read it every once in a while, because I always seem to find something I had missed the last time around. The lyrical narrative takes you through the journeying of Siddhartha, a young Indian man seeking illumination and freedom through different paths. It's almost impossible to sum up, but reading how he finds himself through each experience, how he changes and evolves, is a fascinating and comforting process to observe. It is very touching because his struggles are deeply human, and that is what makes this book so inspiring and soothing.

I highly recommend this book to students of Buddhism, people with an interest in spiritual pursuits, but it is a beautiful and moving read anyone can enjoy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars poor publishing job Feb. 24 2011
By Archi
Format:Paperback
The story is great! Very thought provoking and inspirational. Hesse is a genius. The only negative is the publishing is very poor - many spelling and grammar mistakes. I would recommend buying alternative published copy of this novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to recognize where it is abridged Jan. 20 2004
Format:Audio Cassette
Hesse's _Siddhartha_ has long been perhaps my favorite novel. This audio version from Audio Partners does it full justice. It is based on Hilda Rosner's classic translation. While it is abridged, it is difficult to immediately realize what is missing. Plus, Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius) does a magnificent job with the voice characterizations.
If you dismissed this great novel as something for idealistic undergrads, then I would advise you to read it, or listen to it, again in middle age. You will be surprised how much more you might see in it....
As the book says: Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.
Amen
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4.0 out of 5 stars Siddhartha Sept. 17 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Personally to be honest with you, this was one of the best books I've ever read for school, it explores the life of a man who starts out with only his faith, and then indulges into the lavish life of a rich woman. Making friends along the way this sort of "cocky" religous man finally encounters the real life. Kudos Hesse, Kudos
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4.0 out of 5 stars This Brahmin's Son Jan. 2 2001
Format:Library Binding
When I read this book and it caught my atenion really fast. It started with the Siddhartha sun bathing near the river bank. He is the handsome son of the Brahmin. After that it talked about Siddhartha and his men conversations. As this story goes on it gets more exciting and more interesting. This is a very good book and I recomend it to anyone who wants a good read.
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