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
Since I haven't read the print version, I cannot compare, but on the other hand, having listened to quite a few audio books, I believe this to be a very good preformance, easy to follow and the monotone voice of the narrator suited the mood of the book.
Lots of these, mainly the way his charactor is describing his own thoughts, I think I have often felt the same way, as many people probably have, but we don't have the courage to act on them.
When Mallor went with new friends to a party, he felt out of place and at that moment realized how much even the normal activities of others left him indifferent and unmoved.
When he realized his dance partner was the one person who understood him, allowing him to discover for himself how he felt about her and relationships.
This book does not have a great title, most wouldn't know the meaning in translation, but it is very appropriate after listening to the story. I had known of it's existance as a classic, but until now, was not inclined to read it. I think the audible version would be better for people to understand as the story and the meaning of it, have been debated for years. Most of us could relate to Mallor and I feel Hesse draws attention to many deeper, darker thought processes we all have at one time or another. I enjoyed this book for pealing back and revealing some interesting layers of the human spirit.
Reader, listener, book consumer.
Almost halfway through the book, I still found the book to be largely self-indulgent, self-pitying rhetoric, intermingled with scathing criticism of the bourgoise existence. Hesse's racist comments on the "primitive n----r" on which he bases his animal-like alter-ego analogy does not endear him to me either. A product of Nazi Germany, one would have hoped for more insight almost 2 decades later. He holds eastern religion in high regard, but one has to wonder if he had as much regard for the easteners themselves. It does not hold much value to its listeners.
The book is no more than a maturing man's search for enjoyment and acceptance in this life, as a means to prevent himself from committing suicide. In this quest he searches through all vices, including all the sexual vices. In the end he is nothing but another druggee on a high, subjecting his lamentable listeners to his 'mad' ravings.
Interesting story. It gets off to a slow start. I like the reader's pace in general, but Hesse has some very dense material in the book (though it is fiction), and there were several times that I ended up listening to a passage several times to get the full depth of meaning. Essentially, a very interesting book that I recommend, but possibly not best suited to the audiobook format. Nevertheless, an enjoyable listen.
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.
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 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 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.
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