With its blend of Eastern mysticism and Western culture, Steppenwolf, Hesse' best-known and most autobiographical work, originally published in English in 1929, continues to speak to our souls as a classic of modern literature.
©1927 S. Fischer Verlag A. G., Berlin. Renewal copyright ©1955 Hermann Hesse. English translation copyright B© 1929 Henry Holt and Company. Renewal copyright ©1957 Hermann Hesse. Revised translation copyright © 1963 Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. Author's note copyright ©1961 Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt Am Main; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks America
I could not listen to the narrator drone on and on with his deep monologue voice. Made it impossible to listen to this wonderful novel by Hesse. Too bad.
Ageing intellectual Harry Haller checks out of his attic rooms in a post-WWI German city leaving behind his "records" which constitute the bulk of this novel. They begin as the musings of a divided man: Harry struggles to reconcile the wild primeval "wolf" inside him and the rational, well-mannered, civilized self he presents to the world. He despises the banality of bourgeois life and yet nonetheless longs for its numbing comforts. Each side of his divided nature loathes the other, leaving him hovering between them in spiritual and social paralysis. He can do little more than wander the streets at night, too afraid to go home because he might take the razor to his throat. But everything changes when he meets the mysterious Hermine who wants to teach him to dance... As Hesse points out in a note to this Picador edition, his best loved work is also his most commonly misunderstood one. It isn't so much the book of a man despairing, as of a man believing. Through his relationships with Hermine, Maria and the handsome musician Pablo - and a climactic visitation to the Magic Theatre which has all the depraved beauty, nightmare logic and existential resonance of a David Lynch film - Harry comes to understand and accept the multiplicity of the personality as being ultimately inconsequential. There is a second, higher, indestructible world beyond the Steppenwolf and his problematic life. Ultimately, this novel is a call to connect with the positive, serene, super-personal and timeless reality behind the ridiculous play of life's daily round. It's there all the time, just as we can still hear the genius of Mozart though his music be channelled through a phonograph. Genius survives the transmission, and so it is with the human spirit.
This book is not bad per se... But I got bored halfway through. It started out well, and I had high expectations. I was recommended to read this book as a counterweight to Ayn Rands writings and philosophy. I must say Atlas Shrugged for me beats Steppenwolf by many many miles. It's like Atlas Shrugged is jampacked from start to finish, and really has something to say. Steppenwolf on the other hand is quite slow going. The moral of the story is fine, but nevertheless; I got bored with it. Maybe I'm just more into direct language than metaphors.
This is one of those books that need not really have a plot. The writing is so superb, so rich, even in translation, that the concept of a storyline is almost superfluous. That said one has to admit that the story is less than riveting, however the intellectual richness of the writing requires little else to support it. This is one of the classics, brilliantly narrated and a true masterpiece. I won't spoil it for you by giving a summary of the content, just read it and lose yourself in the (now sadly uncommon) luxury of superb writing.
I was instantly transported to the time I read this as a kid and recall why I loved Hesse's books so much. Wonderfully read. An important book for the intellectually curious.
This was a book I had always thought about reading but never got around to. The story itself, I think, is good for its genre, but the narration will put you to sleep in about 5 minutes. (I believe I am being generous with that last statement.) I like Peter Weller the actor, but his narration is so awful it is a struggle to get through this book. Mr. Weller sounds so incredibly bored reading this book in a virtual monotone it is absolutely horrid. Don't bother listening to this. Pick up the book and read it yourself if you must. You'll be much happier.
Not at all. The narrator was reading so fast in the first couple of chapters it sounded like he needed to pee and wanted to get done with the reading asap.
Hi finally slowed down to a more normal pace.
Honestly, I can't fault him too much for his performance. This was by far the worst Hesse book I've ever read.
I listen to books while I drive from job to job. This book looked interesting and it was on special, so decided to give it a listen. I have purchased books this way in the past and wound up purchasing the entire series. Not in this case however.
I listen to recorded books for two reasons one enjoyment and two so I can stay more alert while I drive. This book starts off slow but but has just enough substance to keep you listening. Then it gets into the meet of the book. Basically the ramblings of a self absorbed and quite possibly mentally ill old man. I was so disgusted and bored that I could not finish the entire book.
Please do not waist your money.
Listening to this "novel" is like wading through molasses. It's unbelievably slow and turgid -- there's almost an hour spent on a manifesto on the nature of the Steppenwolf alone. It's hard to believe that this is great literature when we have the likes of Joyce, who can sketch us a character going through existential despair in a few pages, and make it sting.
Peter Weller was not very engaging, but the fault probably lies more in the text than in him.
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