Adventures in Reading

Fiction: Demian by Herman Hesse
September 11, 2008, 12:50 pm
Filed under: book reviews, fiction | Tags: , , , , , ,

“Novelists when they write novels tend to take an almost godlike attitude toward their subject, pretending to a total comprehension of the story, a man’s life, which they can therefore recount as God Himself might, nothing standing between them and the naked truth, the entire story meaningful in every detail.”

I missed Siddhartha and was given Demian, which is a story of identity, inner and external struggle. The crisis of fatalism and self plays out with the narrator Sinclair’s burgeoning puberty and sexuality or “crisis of adolescents.” Herman Hesse’s Demian is very much a book of plurality that revels in both the physical and the metaphysical. It’s a coming of age novel that questions everything from the comfort of family life to god.

Herman Hesse is an obvious writer in the sense that he has written an intriguing and compact story, it’s particularly neat in not requiring the reader to dig at all for meaning, but still manages a rather nonchalant and philosophical ending to leave the reader speculating. It’s a short and engaging novel and I found myself invited by Hesse to view concepts from a slightly different perspective. If you can get through the first few pages and Hesse’s in-your-face style of symbolism, it’s definitely an enjoyable book.

Conclusion: Keeper.