I am reading my first book by a German author at the moment: ‘Buddenbrooks’ by Thomas Mann.
It is superbly written with beautiful, credible descriptions of characters which allows you to see them as real people, not inhabitants of a novel. ‘Buddenbrooks’ won the Nobel Prize for literature for Mann.
‘Buddenbrooks’ is described as the story of the fall and disintegration of a well to do German family, successful for generations as grain merchants and engaging in other commercial activity with a position in the society of the northern German town in which it has lived for centuries.
The writing is sparking and beautiful but there are two passages in particular which makes the novel worth reading: the description of the death of the old lady, Frau Buddenbrook, the matriarch of the family and a description of the individual, whose name escapes me, who came to view the family home, falling into disrepair, with a few to acquiring more room for his rising, growing family.
This man was obese and the description of his general appearance and difficulty in breathing had me laughing out loud in my car as I drove back from getting diesel in Clonard.
I am coming near the end of the book now and I am going to pay it, and its author, the greatest compliment by buying Thomas Mann’s other great novel, ‘The Magic Mountain’.
Incidentally, when Hitler came to power in Germany Mann fled to Switzerland. And when the second world war broke out he fled to the United States.