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Publisher's Summary

Harry Haller is a sad and lonely figure, a reclusive intellectual for whom life holds no joy. He struggles to reconcile the wild, primeval wolf and the rational man within himself without surrendering to the bourgeois values he despises. His life changes dramatically when he meets a woman who is his opposite, the carefree and elusive Hermine.

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best Novel on Intellectual Male's Midlife Crisis


I likely would have ridiculed this novel at 20, when I was unconquerable, infinite, the world my oyster. Thirty years on, having been through the process of disenchantment called life, and survived the tragic ends (de facto and de jure) of each chapter of my personal myth--the perfect job, a huge house, insane wealth, and adoration of both my looks and smarts--I find this novel profound.

Hermann Hesse wrote this in his late 40s and I can see parts of myself--now and in my recent past--in his fictional alter ego, Harry Haller, a self-isolated intellectual who thinks of himself as a steppenwolf (or a wolf from the steppes), experiencing an ongoing existential crisis, bouts of acute loneliness, fleeting thoughts of death, and a continuing coming to terms with a bourgeois society which he hates yet needs. I can see the wisdom of a life lived, in terms spiritual and at times--even still--animalistic.

I found fascinating the magic theatre to which Harry was invited, a place which serves as a reminder of why he should want to live, allowing him to experience encounters (not necessarily sexual) with females from his past, meetings with these unrequited loves or lusts in which he's no longer shy nor suffering the hangups and insecurities of a young man or boy.

Variations of this magical venue often pepper my dreams. Call them my subconscious yawps for immortality, or maybe, on a deeper level, my psyche's nocturnal pursuits of prurient propagation.

I highly recommend this novel to men in their 40s and 50s, and to their spouses/partners for possible enlightenment.

12 people found this helpful

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Hesse

Back in the 70's when I was in college and the army Herman Hesse had a surge of popularity that was deemed comin of age stories. Back then I read most of his books. I decided to listen to Steppenwolf to see if anything changed, if I had a diferenct perspective. I don't know that I have the answer, Hesse wrote a forward to this book 30 years or so after he wrote it mentioning how the young enjoyed his writing. But he wrote Steppenwolf when he was around 50 and he said that it was as much about finding peace of mind, your placein life than anything. He mentions that each reader gets somthing diffeerent from the story and any author wants his readers to relate to their stories in whatever way workds for them. This is a book for thinkers, I'm one, if you're one you may enjoy this tale.

21 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

I was the Steppenwolf

I believed from the prologue that I was probably the sort of person that Hesse had intended for an audience to this book. When you enter a writer's world... that is to say, the world of a good writer, you are taken away from your own world to experience joys and sorrows of the author's creation. Hesse's world quickly became my own, but Hesse took me a step further. When I was reading the Steppenwolf, I believed that I was the Steppenwolf. Harry Haller was me and I was him.

Haller begins as a sick and sorrowful man, a brilliant man and I became him as I found myself trudging through his life. When Holler, and thus myself, came out the other side of the story, we were healed, healthier and a better people for having made the journey. For me, reading this was less of an accomplishment and more of an apotheosis... a transcendence. I wish I could thank Hesse myself for creating this wonderful little masterpiece.

23 people found this helpful

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If you like Nietzsche, you'll love Der Steppenwolf

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this to intelligent introspective friends who may have read some Nietzsche. Those would get the most out of it. I saw on the wiki page for the book that Jack Kerouac "dismissed" this book in Big Sur. While I've only read one of Kerouac's books, I can say the two aren't remotely on the same level. I think Hesse's work was just beyond him.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Der Steppenwolf of course.

What does Peter Weller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Peter was an interesting choice. I can understand why he was offered the job, he often represents the lone wolf in movies.His pronunciation was decent but don't forget about the speed function on your audible player. I found 1.25x normal a very comfortable listening speed.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A new life is yours to take.

Any additional comments?

Psychologic, philosophic, and existential

13 people found this helpful

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Save this Hesse novel for your midlife crisis.

There is this bourgeoisie period in every man's life. This midpoint between birth and death where man is trapped alone. Unable to exist in hot or cold of the absolutes he tries to find his way between the extremes in the comfortable center. Fearing life and death, he just exists ... barely. This is not a novel for the young. Just like it is better to save King Lear for late in one's life, it is better to save Steppenwolf for those crisis years of the midlife.

Hesse's novels seem to flirt between the edge of memoir, scripture, prose poem and Eastern philosophy tract. This isn't a book you want to read in a hot bath with scotch in one hand and a razor blade in the other. You will either spill your drink or spill your blood or lose every printed word, the hot water erasing pages and pickling your fingers, toes and time.

There are parts of me that get super irritated by Hesse and parts of me that absolutely love him. It depends, I guess, on what part of me is dominating at the time, which of my selves is dislocated and which is demanding the most.

Somedays, I wonder if I had my druthers I'd be a shepherd and write poetry on rocks. Unfortunately, I am a bourgeoisie bitch cloaking myself in cashmere and not a mangy wolf from the steppes.

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Profound

This is one of the most profound books I've have ever listened to. The reader was alright, but the book itself was fascinating. My favorite part, unlike the last reviewer, was the Steppenwolf treatise. It describes an entire subspecies of mankind, and it is one that I identify with completely. Hooowl!!!

In the beginning of the book the author noted that people didn't take away from the book what he truly intended for them to take away. I think what he really intended them to take from the book, was the old adage that if you see the Buddha kill him. However, that saying may not have been around when Hesse wrote this book. Another way to look at it would be that in order to reach Buddhists or Hindu enlightenment through meditation or whatever, you must kill your own personality and sever your attachment to self. It is possible that given the society that Hesse lived and wrote in he could not come out and directly say this so he cloaked it in Steppenwolf and Sidhartha. Of course, it is also possible my proposal is not at all what he wanted a reader to take from this book and I am completely wrong and self-delusional, but after listening to the book this is my guess and anyone is free to listen and propose a different hypothesis about Hesse's intention. So please feel free.

Once again, this is profound literature. Really great stuff.

23 people found this helpful

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A Classic Must Read

What made the experience of listening to Steppenwolf the most enjoyable?

Steppenwolf is, indeed, taught too early in school; a slightly more mature perspective enhanced this reader's enjoyment of the tale.

What did you like best about this story?

The cinical perspective at the heart of this story is dry to the marrow ironic perfection.

What about Peter Weller’s performance did you like?

Peter Weller possesses the perfect voice for the re/telling of this story. His performance is suberb.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

If you aren't laughing, you should stop listening.

Any additional comments?

This classic is an absolute must read/listen, even if you have read it in school - especially if you have read it in school; it is far more enjoyable from an adult perspective.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Weller and Hesse? I say YES

I could listen to Peter Weller narrate the phone book. Here he narrates one of the classics of European literature and it is so good. So so so good.

7 people found this helpful

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relentless angst

I read this because it's a well-known classic. But I think it may appeal more to young people, questioning themselves and their relationship to the world. I started out liking it, but it was just relentless and repetitive. I couldn't even finish it. I also didn't like the narrator and I may have liked it better if I could have read a physical book, which would have also allowed me to skim a bit.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

fair warning, not about your typical werewolf

it also starts off really slowly but worth it and then ends abruptly and confusingly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anon
  • 01-10-18

Superb

Steppenwolf is an outstanding classic. I had no preconceptions about this book - with no previous idea what the book was about. It’s now one of my favourites. The story is about a man who is clearly fed up with life and while he finds some things stimulating is numb to most of life and the world around him. The story evolves from there and really is superb. I loved the part where Hesse describes us as half wolf, half human: when the wolf is in charge it is happy but the human despises it; when the human is in control the wolf despises it. He’s suggesting that whether doing what we think is right OR whether following our animal instincts we’re never fully happy. He then challenges this. Brilliant. And superb narration!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-15-18

Brief rev.

Once you loose yourself in the character of steppenwolf, the story flows beautifully. Especially with the soothing deep voice of this particular narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • O'Dowd
  • 09-20-16

great listen!

Excellent reading of a powerful book. Highly recommended for all Hesse fans and those new to his work.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joff
  • 01-21-09

Great

A fantastic, moving book. A timeless tale and the best I've listened to so far. Great narration too. A+

3 people found this helpful

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  • No Gracias
  • 06-14-21

Navel gazing wankery

If you like Hermann Hesse this is great. Excellently read by Peter Weller. To me though Hermann's head is way too far up his own ass to find this good. Super pretentious. Plenty of books out there about the feeling of being different than the mainstream that weren't written by this lifeless, humourless, overrated.... ahem

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  • LC
  • 02-02-21

An amazing story

I listened to this one for the first time and found it to be a very engaging and thought provoking story, touching on many aspects of identity and self perception. I expect I will listen to it again as I think this type of book needs reading/listening multiple times to get the lost out of it.

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  • truebuyer101
  • 09-05-20

It's narrated by Robocop.It's Steppenwolf.

I love this story. It's essentially about a lone lost nomad hating life. Hesse beautifully describes in vivid detail the ups and downs of the protagonist. I've laughed and cried reading this book. It relates to the reader throughout all parts of their lives. Well it did for me anyway.
If your reading this you have probably already read the paperback so I don't need to tell you the story. First time readers don't want spoilers anyway
Eitherway I recommend you listen to the narrated version here. Why you say?
For me, I love the story as said above and I will happily put Robocop in my top 10 movies. To see that Peter Weller narrated this blew my mind. But when I searched this book on audible or wherever I didn't know that. So when I saw that Peter Weller was narrating I had to listen.
It was the same story and it was spoken really well. Peter seems to know and relate.
I love the quote 'you learned how to play the violin....'but you never learned to dance. (shortened no spoilers).
I'm not a on Amazon employee...listen to this. It will cheer a sad person up.

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  • omar
  • 09-01-20

read it when your grow restless and older

For those who understand the struggles of a midlife crisis. Gonna name my harley steppenwolf.

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  • james
  • 06-03-20

wow, I was ready for that

One of my new favourite books! Waited till I was 57 and practicing zen bhuddism! I think that helped in finding this book so magical, transformative and overal amazing. Great performance too. Pablo awaits, time for a laugh.

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  • C K
  • 01-20-19

A masterpiece both of author and reader

An ephemeral rollercoaster journey through the human condition read expertly by Robocop's Peter Weller.

Introspective, thought provoking, and at certain points uncomfortable - but an experience worth undertaking. As the story itself concedes: not for everyone!

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  • Engineer
  • 09-01-17

Amazing.

An equisite narration of an equally perfect book. If you're a MGTOW it's a must read.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-15-21

It's bigbrain time

An interesting and introspective listen, similar thematically to The Glass Bead Game but equally unique.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-31-20

Superb and exquisite.

A superb and exquisite parable of life and mankind’s quest for truth and the eternal unchanging.