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John (Denver, CO USA)

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Siddhartha
Siddhartha
by Hermann Hesse
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 6.64
203 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Classic?, March 9 2004
This review is from: Siddhartha (Mass Market Paperback)
Having read Hesse's "Demian", I knew full well I would absolutely despise this novel if and when I read it. However, I could not have predicted the extent to which I would hate it. Often considered a literary classic, I half expected to find at least one redeeming quality within this novel's pages. I was mistaken. Hesse's contrived anecdote does nothing to justify the worldview contained, in that sense being very similar to "Demian". The concepts regarding the searching of the soul are abstract and only appeal to emotion or repressed desires, as opposed to intellect - the novel offers no practical or applicable consul or theme. Perhaps, I am simply unable to understand the novel's "Eastern" context, but I would suppose I am at least as familiar with it as a middle-aged, reclusive German author from the middle of the 20th century. The novel demands empathy from the reader with the protagonist's soul searching in order to be successful or have impact - a quality I don't consider indicative of good literature. Moreso, Hesse's style seems elementary, akin to a young adult novel, though such may be a result of the translation. Even so, when compared to his contemporaries of the era, I fail to understand how Hesse's "Siddhartha" can be so revered - failing dreadfully in comparison to the works of J.R.R. Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, Joseph Heller or William Golding. To conclude, I do not recommend this novel as a classic or ground-breaking revelation in any sense. Perhaps, I had expected too much. Many other authors, not the least of which include the aforementioned, have related the path of maturity of the individual in much more impactful and meaningful literary works than Hesse, and therefore, the redeeming qualities of "Siddhartha" are diminished, if not non-existant. Honestly, I would like to meet someone who genuinely likes this novel and finds it valuable in order to discover its worth. Insofar as I see it, there is none.

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