Monday, December 06, 2004


The subject for tonight’s book group is Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf.

Sadly I had simply not had the time to get more than halfway through; this was more than some and less than others in the group, only two of our number having reached the end.

The consensus was that this was largely due to this being a book that demands one’s complete focus; not one to attempt after a long days work in an attempt to complete it by a deadline. Steppenwolf is an intense, at times profound read and is unwaveringly earnest. Which is not to say that it is not accomplished of deeply interesting, it is certainly both, but one has to work at it.

Accordingly it sparked some fascinating conversations tonight about the nature of identity, how to live and the pursuit of spiritual goals, but there was general agreement that this was not a book that one derives direct pleasure in the reading of. In contrast to works such as Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Camus’ The Outsider or even some of Hesse’s other titles such as Siddhartha, this is a dry and overly earnest examination of its weighty themes and consequently something of a disappointment.

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