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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on March 14, 2003
The Magic Mountain has it all, it is probably my favorite book - highly literary, readable, transparent, coherent, complete. Mann is not a challenge to read when you compare him to the other two great 20th Century novelists, Joyce and Proust. Reading Mann is comparable to reading Tolstoy or Dostoevsky in that it is highly gratifying at all times; it is never obscure, philosophical, or inaccessible and there are no "innovations" like "stream-of-consciousness" writing. This does not mean it is not deep - it is very deep, but Mann sticks to the story without digressions and you always know what is going on and what the context is.
The best parts of the Magic Mountain involve Mann's examination of competing world political ideologies and their limitations and contradictions. Through his characters he shows how ideologies often mean the same thing, they just express it in a different way. He also parodies the sophistry of ideologues and illustrates the inevitable futility of taking hard-line positions on anything. The book is NOT ideological in itself, unless you consider freedom of thought an ideology.
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on May 27, 1999
I will pass along a favor given to me: if you enjoyed "Magic Mountain," another fascinating book you will love is Glenn Kleier's "The Last Day." It is unquestionably one of the finest novels I've ever read. Enjoy! Elaine C.
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on March 20, 2003
Thomas Mann is one of those writers that I want to like because I know I am supposed to, but at the end of the day, despite a valiant effort, we are not really friends, only friendly acquaintances. The Magic Mountain is the story of a young man, Hans Castorp, who goes to a a mountain convalescent community and takes a cure which we and he are not certain he really needs. His motivations seem to be in equal parts, one part flight from his uncle's business, and one part convalescence from a disease that might or might not be tuberculosis. This vacation among the sick, however, is entangling, and soon Mr. Castorp is told and he accepts (though we are not certain he believes it) that he must stay. We share Mr. Castorp's world and meet more of the patients and doctors, we learn that Mr. Castorp is not the only person whose motives are unclear, we begin to doubt the doctors, the other patients, and eventually-as the story moves into a more allegorical sphere-even the existence of the convalescent community in which the story takes place. I like the book. I'm not sure it deserves the critical acclaim it enjoyed when it was published. Perhaps I would like it more if I were more certain of its historical context.
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on April 17, 2004
Someone once asked what was The Magic Mountain about. After thinking for a little while, answered I: It's about Men, it's about Time, it's about Love, it's about Europe. Then it's sort of philosophy? he said. Yes, it's philosophy.
May this words help everyone who's looking everywhere for substantial and deep literature. Mann's Magic Mountain is just superb. A book that will shake and smack your mind. Like Dostoievsky, like Kafka, like Cervantes, like Greek Tragedy.
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on September 16, 2002
And a huge waste of time - no wonder there was World War I. One reason is that literary/intellectual/philosophy types don't have common sense and they get all of us in trouble with them. You may have to read the book to realize this (thus the second star). Yeah, please read the book a second time, a third time... to get the full meaning. Better yet, please memorize the book. And do it while you're staying at a sanatorium in Davos. And please lose your sense of time. How much would it cost you to stay at Davos?...Please stay for 7 years - it would only cost you a little more than [a few bucks].
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on February 3, 2016
slow going
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on September 24, 1999
Dear friends, please! All of you like this book for four or five stars. Why? Just because he got a Nobel-price? That is to easy. The Magic mountain is a boring book and, beside this, is worse written. The characters are easy, not at all interesting; it is a oneway book with no theme to think about. Especially the ending is typical for Thomas Mann: He is not able to create senseful endings. Hans dies in the war (there have to be a worldwar to have a reason to finish this book)as his cousin wants to. The cousin dies in this hospital as Hans wants to.... amazingly creative :-(. And then the sentences of M. Horrible! Latest in the moment when Mann asks people to read this book at least twice, I started screaming. This is a real way of resignation. If I am not able to publish a book that is understandable the first time, I should first learn writing before acting. My wish is that people stop giving Thomas Mann a halo and all the other people getting this Nobel-price of literature. That is not the only thing to evaluate literature.
Sinceraly yours
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on December 1, 2001
thomas mann was a GREAT writer, don't get me wrong. however, it is my feeling that Magic Mountain is one of the most overrated books in history. it is dull! it is boring! it inspires somnolence! and that is being polite. thomas mann wrote so many other truly wonderful books, i find it very sad when people pick up magic mountain, throw it down in disgust and never read another book by this great author. let me name a few ... Royal Highness, Buddenbrooks, Transposed Heads, the Black Swan. i have not read the joseph books because my local library has never had the first volume in the set and i can't read them out of order. good reading to you all.
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on July 3, 2002
Among the very worst books I have ever read. I won't detail the plot (such as it is) as others have done. I can't relate to these characters at all. A century is not necessarily a long time but in terms of attitude these people might as well be from another world.
No swearing, no rage, no hate. Conversations between characters are artifical and often just statements of politics, philosophy, religion.Endless descriptions of food eaten, clothes worn.
If this was the only book in the world I would never read a written word again I hated it that much. The author could kill people with boredom and intellectual waffle without getting to any point.He manages to say in 1000 words what another author could say in 10. Not so much a novel as a sort of encyclopedia of descriptions of the human body, attitudes to life and being bored.
Life is too short to read this.
A book like Stephen King's 'It' is worth a 5/5 for it's sense of fun, drama, depth, terror, endless stories and characters. This book is for me a 1/5
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