Buddenbrooks, Doctor Faustus, and Confessions of Felix Krull already on my TBR shelf, all out-on-a-limb purchases from a community fundraiser book sale last fall. So far so good, I'd say.
With this dizzyingly rich novel of ideas, Thomas Mann rose to the front ranks of the great modern novelists, ultimately winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929. In The Magic Mountain, Mann uses a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps - a community devoted exclusively to sickness - as a microcosm for Europe, which in the years before 1914 was already exhibiting the first symptoms of its own terminal irrationality.
To this hermetic yet intrigue-ridden world comes Hans Castorp, a 'perfectly ordinary' young man who arrives for a short visit and ends up staying seven years. For on the Magic Mountain, Hans will succumb both to the lure of eros and to the intoxication of ideas. Newly rendered into English by acclaimed translator John Woods, The Magic Mountain is a monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intelectual ferment, a book that oulses with life in the midst of death.