Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family

Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family[Reading] ➮ Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family ➶ Thomas Mann – Bluevapours.co.uk Buddenbrooks, first published in Germany in , when Mann was only twenty six, has become a classic of modern literatureIt is the story of four generations of a wealthy bourgeois family in northern Germ Buddenbrooks, first published in Germany in , when Decline of Epub á Mann was only twenty six, has become a classic of modern literatureIt is the story of four generations of a wealthy bourgeois family in northern Germany facing the advent of modernity in an uncertain new world, the family s bonds and traditions begin to disintegrate As Mann charts the Buddenbrooks decline from prosperity to bankruptcy, from moral and psychic soundness to sickly piety, artistic decadence, and madness, he ushers the reader into a world of stunning vitality, pieced Buddenbrooks: The MOBI :✓ together from births and funerals, weddings and divorces, recipes, gossip, and earthy humorIn its immensity of scope, richness of detail, and fullness of humanity, buddenbrooks surpasses all other modern family chronicles With remarkable fidelity to the original German text, this superb translation emphasizes the magnificent scale of Mann s achievement in this riveting, tragic novel.

Librarian Note There isthan one author in the Decline of Epub á GoodReads database with this name See this thread forinformationSee also Serbian Tomas ManThomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and Nobel Prize laureate in , known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual His analysis and critique of the European and German soul used modernized German and Biblical stories, as well as the ideas Buddenbrooks: The MOBI :✓ of Goethe, Nietzsche, and Schopenhauer His older brother was the radical writer Heinrich Mann, and three of his six children, Erika Mann, Klaus Mann and Golo Mann, also became important German writers When Hitler came to power in , Mann fled to Switzerland When World War II broke out in , he emigrated to the United States, from where he returned to Switzerland in Thomas Mann is one of the best known exponents of the so called Exilliteratur.

Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family ePUB ·
  • Hardcover
  • 731 pages
  • Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family
  • Thomas Mann
  • English
  • 12 April 2017
  • 0679417370

10 thoughts on “Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family

  1. Lisa says:

    Occasionally, reading and family life interfere with each other I have raised my children with the sole dogma that I read, therefore I am Being a family, we can t keep from judging each other according to our own specific reading preferences, and we usually believe that we are what we read At the moment, my son is reading Buddenbrooks while I am working my way through Brothers Karamazov, and we like to compare notes, especially as both novels are focusing on complicated family patterns Occasionally, reading and family life interfere with each other I have raised my children with the sole dogma that I read, therefore I am Being a family, we can t keep from judging each other according to our own specific reading preferences, and we usually believe that we are what we read At the moment, my son is reading Buddenbrooks while I am working my way through Brothers Karamazov, and we like to compare notes, especially as both novels are focusing on complicated family patterns with which we are quite familiar.My son, frustrated with the character of Gr nlich, a true sleazeball and hypocrite, complained that there seems to be a Uriah Heep in each family, thus reigniting a debate on David Copperfield that we had last year Going on to reflect on the struggles of the different generations of Buddenbrooks to find a balance between individual and collective identity within a patriarchal family structure, he murmured Some things are very much like our family Strong personalities, big dreams, different ideas and clashing worldviews we came to the conclusion that most families go through the general changes that the Buddenbrooks experienced during the 19th century We could detect the same power struggles in Dostoevsky and Dickens So it is not so much that we are what we read , but rather that we read what we are And that is what makes those old fashioned, long, over detailed classics shockingly contemporary and relevant to us Put a random set of characters into a house, make sure to create a balance of interdependence and delicate power distribution, and you will see them act out dysfunctional family life without needing a script to stick to Brother One takes a role, which requires Brother Two to act out the antagonist s drama, while Sister One looks for a way out of the dilemma of being raised to obey her family and simultaneously to be proud of herself and her independence Sister Two will oscillate between different positions to fill the gaps left by the rest of the family And that is just the horizontal line Add the vertical lines in the family tree and you are lucky if you manage to tell the story in as many words as Dickens, Dostoevsky or Mann.Sounds like a dull formula, but it isn t After all, that is what we call life, and it s not dull at all We can all spend a whole day fretting over the fact that a sibling, parent, spouse or child used a certain kind of voice level when saying goodbye, and we can read a whole generation s worth of implications into the wave of a hand Thomas Mann put down on paper what he had experienced first hand himself, and the very fact that the family is far from unique on the contrary, quite common is what makes it appealing to readers of all ages.Family life turned world literature World literature turned family competition Who will finish first My son with Buddenbrooks, or me with Karamazovs If you say it doesn t matter, you know nothing of families at all

  2. Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    782 Buddenbrooks, Thomas MannBuddenbrooks is a 1901 novel by Thomas Mann, chronicling the decline of a wealthy north German merchant family over the course of four generations, incidentally portraying the manner of life and s of the Hanseatic bourgeoisie in the years from 1835 to 1877 Mann drew deeply from the history of his own family, the Mann family of L beck, and their milieu 2012 782 Buddenbrooks, Thomas MannBuddenbrooks is a 1901 novel by Thomas Mann, chronicling the decline of a wealthy north German merchant family over the course of four generations, incidentally portraying the manner of life and s of the Hanseatic bourgeoisie in the years from 1835 to 1877 Mann drew deeply from the history of his own family, the Mann family of L beck, and their milieu 2012 782 1383 782 9647948026 1385 20

  3. Ilse says:

    Don t ask me why, but somehow I had expected this debut novel of Thomas Mann to be as stuffy as my actual copy of the novel, gathering dust on the shelves together with Doctor Faustus for almost fifteen years Fortunately, I was wrong It was far less dusty than the shelf it has been lingering on and than I had expected.I was impressed with Mann s evocative writing on music and surprised by the subversive role Mann ascribes to art and music.If some free time would miraculously come my way, I mig Don t ask me why, but somehow I had expected this debut novel of Thomas Mann to be as stuffy as my actual copy of the novel, gathering dust on the shelves together with Doctor Faustus for almost fifteen years Fortunately, I was wrong It was far less dusty than the shelf it has been lingering on and than I had expected.I was impressed with Mann s evocative writing on music and surprised by the subversive role Mann ascribes to art and music.If some free time would miraculously come my way, I might jot down someimpressions

  4. Emily May says:

    It was actually Boyne s A Ladder to the Sky that made me finally want to read Mann s work I got so many recommendations from that book And I thought this would be an instant favourite I do love pretty much all family saga books.Unfortunately, though, I experienced a real disconnect from the characters and story Perhaps it s because this was Mann s debut and he falls prey to a number of debut author traps like getting caught up in his own masturbatory metaphor, for example but I m not It was actually Boyne s A Ladder to the Sky that made me finally want to read Mann s work I got so many recommendations from that book And I thought this would be an instant favourite I do love pretty much all family saga books.Unfortunately, though, I experienced a real disconnect from the characters and story Perhaps it s because this was Mann s debut and he falls prey to a number of debut author traps like getting caught up in his own masturbatory metaphor, for example but I m not sure The story of the Buddenbrooks is, as the subtitle suggests, about the decline of a wealthy German family during the nineteenth century It follows multiple generations of Buddenbrooks through their daily minutiae, as well as through marriages and financial struggles The problem is I felt like I was reading one event after another without any emotional attachment to the characters and what was happening to them.And I don t think it helps that the novel takes such huge leaps in time, missing out large chunks of the characters lives.Yeah, I get that it s a portrait of what family life was like in this specific time and place, and there s the whole thing with the tooth decay metaphor but, you see, I felt like Mann putfeeling into writing about their teeth than into writing about their personalities After a while, the repetitive metaphor of tooth decay for the decay of a family didn t seem that clever any I guess I ll have to see if The Magic Mountain or Death in Venice are any better.Though, I must say that this was my absolute favourite moment of the whole book I don t know if it was intended to be funny, but I found it hilariousGo to the devil, you filthy sprat eating slut And thus Tony Buddenbrook s second marriage came to an end. Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube

  5. Kalliope says:

    MEAN REVERSION IS A BITCH There is a concept in statistics, Regression or Reversion to the Mean, which is widely used in a variety of fields of knowledge It was first realized by Sir Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin, when he worked on the correlation of heights between adult children and parents.The concept refers to the tendency for any variable which exhibits an extreme value at any point of measurement to move towards the average next time it is measured.This mathematical to MEAN REVERSION IS A BITCH There is a concept in statistics, Regression or Reversion to the Mean, which is widely used in a variety of fields of knowledge It was first realized by Sir Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin, when he worked on the correlation of heights between adult children and parents.The concept refers to the tendency for any variable which exhibits an extreme value at any point of measurement to move towards the average next time it is measured.This mathematical tool is used regularly both in Genetics and in Finance Theory Consequently, it is an apt model for dealing with the Buddenbrooks and their three Fs Family, Firm and Fortune, and particularly so because the anchor of the family is precisely that Trading Their pride was founded upon the buying and selling of grains, and to do so in the appropriate manner with suitable methods, engaging in the right discipline, performing the relevant calculations, exerting their commercial savvy, and adhering to their code of ethics all of these constituted their pride and nature.The novel begins with the second generation of a family and spans five generations Their business had, however, one generation less The book tracks the progression of the Buddenbrooks as a function of their prosperity The characters and their circumstances are factors that exert a force in the success trend of the family.In the Buddenbrooks the finances and identity of the firm and family are inseparably intertwined The family s expenses are expenses for the firm And profits from the firm accumulated as capital provide the income and living style of the family The new Buddenbrooks house, the family symbol with which the novel begins, is a monument to itself Family and firm reside there.In addition to the launch of the triumphal house the novel regularly pegs the level at which the Buddenbrooks capital stands They start off with a mark of 900k Marks and the subsequent levels, which can be plotted, guide us as we follow their successes or hardships Johann Buddenbrook the Younger begins the apprenticeship of his son Thomas by giving a quick review of the big blocks composing their capital He understands them well Later on Tom gives the latest balance to his sister Tony, and although the figure sounds reassuringly high to her, he however adds with concern we should be at one million The Buddenbrook capital has stayed sort of flat, which in any progression of prosperity means trouble As we approach the end of the novel the family is valued at 650k, amount that will however decrease further as the assets are liquidated inadequately.So, how does this function of prosperity work The phenomenon of moving back to the Mean irremediably starts and both Genetics and Trading are players in the game.Depending on their gender and their primogeniture the various members of family will have to perform a different role The patriarchs, role reserved for the eldest son, are to be the main motor When this works, it works, but the problem is that its dependency is concentrated on one individual becoming therefore too risky We see that even the luck of begetting a male son does not guarantee the survival of the genes of mercantile prosperity Christian turns out to be a good for nothing and therefore neither a support nor a back up to the elder brother in any of the Buddenbrook responsibilities and activities He becomes a deviation from the trend and a very strong pull away from excellence Nor is Hanno a healthy alternative to the mercantile model The boy inherits the artistic inclinations from his mother, but also the lack of discipline that we saw in his uncle His musical abilities turn out to be good only for toying around with music, not really for playing or composing He is not, as Tony hoped, a new Mozart Surprisingly, Thomas Mann does not present the Arts and Music as Saviours for the Buddenbrooks No redeeming transformation is generated.The women and daughters occupy a very particular position The daughters are detractors of a significant amount of the capital, since significant dowries have to be carved out of the sustaining trunk These side investments are expected to bring back both prestige and an extended business clout with an overall benefit for the Buddenbrooks In this family the dowries granted out were almost all utter failures We know that money seduces swindlers like honey attracts flies And the Buddenbrooks, both the women and the men, suffer as the victims of the Gr ndlich hoax and of devout greed The family s mercantile acumen was not able to detect the money hunters In spite of these failures, however, dowries did net in around 89k Marks thanks to the 300k that Gerda brought along when she married Tom But it is the concentration on the different roles that the various family members have to play, according to their gender, which increases the probability of failure Tony is a convinced Buddenbrooks even if she suffered when she sacrificed her Morten Could she have offered the business support to her elder brother once it was clear that Christian was not capable Or could she, or her daughter and grand daughter, have continued the family firm similarly to the way Donatella Versace has This is hard to say, since after all it was she who persuaded her brother of the suitability of the P ppenrader deal Failure or hailstorm, had she been able to participate or take over the business, the probability of survival would have increased With this possibility barred, the P ppenrader misfortune takes place precisely and symbolically when Tom s grandiose house and the Centennial of the firm are celebrated It marks the resistance point and the decline clearly begins.But not all the triggers for the Verfall can be found in the family members The novel gives loose indications of the historical and economic conditions in which we see this family s progression We learn that although Johann the Elder expressed antipathy towards the rising Prussia, he had made a great deal of his profits by selling his grains to the emerging Teutonic Kingdom And several times the Customs Union is mentioned, although we cannot know in what specific aspects they were detrimental for their business Revolution comes, entertains, and goes And the new war between Prussia and Austria remains hazily further south When Thomas refers to the slow pace at which their benefits are made, signalling a business of narrowing margins, we wonder whether there were other factors that were transforming the business profoundly and which he was not detecting Although the context is included in the novel, we are left with only a very general idea that the rules of the game must have changed and that these have debunked the Buddenbrooks way But the book does not offer further detail.So, what brought the downfall of the Buddenbrooks It was a joint result of bad luck, some failed judgment, changing political and economic circumstances, and the determinism of social conventions But when a reversion to the mean process begins, the causes are not important What is important is that it happens and that it can hurt.As the Turkish proverb, that Tom quotes, says Wenn das Haus fertig ist, kommt der Tod, and so the graphs and statistical laws show

  6. Fionnuala says:

    Buddenbrooks sat on a high shelf in the back room of my mind for many years, and though it remained unread it was nevertheless honoured with a prime position I hoped to read it one day but doubted my own ability to comprehend what I thought must surely be a very difficult text.I first came across Buddenbrooks among my older sister s university text books Her German edition impressed me not only for the mysterious title composed of familiar syllables which the stringing together all in one word Buddenbrooks sat on a high shelf in the back room of my mind for many years, and though it remained unread it was nevertheless honoured with a prime position I hoped to read it one day but doubted my own ability to comprehend what I thought must surely be a very difficult text.I first came across Buddenbrooks among my older sister s university text books Her German edition impressed me not only for the mysterious title composed of familiar syllables which the stringing together all in one word rendered solidly impenetrable, but also because of its bulkiness, each page dense, the capitalisedmultisyllabledcompound words tightly packed like a battalion of heavilyarmouredforeignsoldiers Even in an English translation, I feared I would not be able to separate those syllables and enter the text Buddenbrooks was a country I would never be able to visit.Many years pass My reading life becomes a littleadventurous and one Thursday in May, or is it October time moves fast in Buddenbrooksland , I find myself seated in the landscape room of a large house in L beck, in the company of little Tony Buddenbrook, her brothers Tom and Christian, her parents, her grandparents, her cousin Clothilde and family friend Sesemi Weichbrodt.What a surprisingly pleasant visit this has turned out to be, I think, as I settle myself comfortably into the yellow cushions of the sofa, feeling welcome from the very beginning in that bright and elegant house in Meng Street I am charmed by everyone and everything I meet both within the house and outside the people, the food, the wine, the furnishings, the entire Buddenbrooks world like a giant bottle of delicious pink champagne all wrapped up in golden tinsel But as soon as I ve settled myself comfortably into the narrative, I find that ten years have flown swiftly by, their events recounted in littlethan summary form Okay, I think, now that all the back story has been provided, the narrative will get underway properly Tony is at an interesting age, perhaps she will become the definite focus of this book Christian too seems to have potential, maybe he will be the vehicle for Mann to develop his themes Or will it be Tom who becomes the focus, although Tom seems a bit plodding and dull Or perhaps it will be their little sister, born in a gap between summaries But no, I think it is going to be Tony after all because we re skipping forward in time again and Tony is now a young lady and she is travelling to the seaside at Travem nde This change of location comes just in time for me, as like her, I was beginning to find life in Meng Street a little claustrophobic I m loving the descriptions in this section, the sea, the rocks, the states of mind There are some fascinating new characters and Tony is growing quite interesting herself I want her to grow up, to no longer be the schoolgirl who says I shall marry a business man He must have a lot of money, so I can furnish elegantly Perhaps her life can take a new turn here, away from L beck, away from commerce, away from the family I am excited for her I see freedom on the horizon, new ideas, new prospects.Ah hah I ve just noticed the subtitle, relegated to the back cover of my editionThe Decline of a Family.I know now that the story can t focus exclusively on Tony In spite of her charming upper lip and her interesting throaty voice, the story has to be about the family, the entire Buddenbrook clan and their common destiny, and the narrative must stay firmly rooted in L beck That meansskipping through time any periods which the main characters spend away from their home town are reduced to a summary And what a surprise, the plodding and prudent Tom emerges as a principal character in so far as there can ever be a principal character in this family saga He has become interesting too in his own way I suspect depths which his role in the family don t allow to be revealed but which nevertheless attract my attention from time to time like a stray piece of tinsel in the bottom of a drawer It s as if a little bit of his brother Christian s effervescence lies hidden behind Tom s carefully monitored exterior Christian s own effervescence is sadly short lived, and his life has been reduced to littlethan a broken champagne glass lying in a dusty corner Tony, in the meantime, has been shattered too but she glues herself back each time because, unlike Christian, she is driven by her astounding reverence for the idea of family, and her particular type of effervescence, less ebullient perhaps than Christian s, nevertheless lasts longer her comments, at times courageous, at others, hysterical, punctuate the narrative like the popping of a champagne cork.Two thirds of the way through the novel, there is a shift in the narrative as well as the location The glory days in Meng street are over and a new and fascinating character, at least for me, is introduced Commercial concerns fade into the background and music begins to take a leading role in the story the reader is treated to a beautiful and elegant coda for this Buddenbrook symphony I had begun to really enjoy this section but all too soon, the symphony ended almost on the same note as it had begun with the fluty tones of the little prophetess and altogether noble character, Sesemi Weichbrodt.What place will Buddenbrooks occupy in the back room of my mind now that I ve read it A prime position on that high shelf of books I hope to reread Perhaps not I think I will lay it down in the cellar among those dusty, overblown wine bottles which will never be uncorked but which I keep for nostalgic reasons I won t be opening Buddenbrooks again

  7. Jan-Maat says:

    How could Katia Pringsheim have gone on to marry Thomas Mann if she had ever read his first novel, Buddenbrooks beforehand The long story of a families multifaceted decline across four generations features mental anguish, bankruptcy, insanity, and no happy marriages.Thomas Mann s first novel is set among the L beck Patrician class of leading merchants who dominated the small city state Mann drew heavily upon the family background that he left behind, along with the world of business, to make h How could Katia Pringsheim have gone on to marry Thomas Mann if she had ever read his first novel, Buddenbrooks beforehand The long story of a families multifaceted decline across four generations features mental anguish, bankruptcy, insanity, and no happy marriages.Thomas Mann s first novel is set among the L beck Patrician class of leading merchants who dominated the small city state Mann drew heavily upon the family background that he left behind, along with the world of business, to make himself into a writer in Munich instead There is no such escape for his fictionalised family in Buddenbrooks For them the pride in their heritage becomes an obligation A yardstick that serves only to measure the extent of their shortcomings, however Mann s analysis of the families decline is not so straightforward Contingency is a major factor They lose out from unexpected bankruptcies, they miss out on opportunities, the currents of the economy change and shift about them, they don t adapt and are slowly left behind sitting on the rocks as others, including would be suitor the medical student Morten, steam ahead For Thomas Mann as an author the deconstruction of his heritage is a creative act that allows him to reconstruct himself into a novelist Before Buddenbrooks Thomas had only published short stories and the narrative he produced here is not continuous Reading it is like admiring a series of Hogarth prints like The Rake s Progress or Marriage a la Mode Some chapters could be split off and read as a story on their own There are years between some chapters The point of view character changes At one point a chapter consists only of a letter sent from one family member to another Mann created the novel as a federation of short stories, bound together by common characters, setting, images and the notion of inescapable decline The decline of the Buddenbrooks is complex For one the family fails to nourish Like poor Klothilde they eat and eat but don t grow sleek Christian is prematurely aged Tom worn out Tony educated to be helpless, she clings to the intellectual highpoint of her life the conversations she had with the student Morten at the age of sixteen decades later recommending to her brother to read newspapers that had long ago ceased to be printed The whole of Fontane s Effi Briest is given over to the story of a woman educated to be a child and married to be a dependant, but Tony s story of a woman searching for a role is an alternative take with an ironic twist is itself just one strand of Buddenbrooks I prefer the Fontane, but I have to give credit to the scope of Mann s ambition Their world is changing around them, they fail to flow with the Zeitgeist The big politics of 1848 and the wars of unification are in the background Their world is a shrinking pond When they venture outside they are at the mercy of bigger fish Each character in successive generations succeeds in both being a type and true to their time while also being an individual.This is the book that gave rise to the idea of a Buddenbrook syndrome used to describe the practise of commercial families to withdraw in the second and third generations from business and to put their time and money into leisure activities as well as anticipating maybe even inspiring Max Weber s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism in its treatment of the part played by religion in the inner lives of the Buddenbrooks The neverending oppressive school day that robs little Hanno of vitality would feature again in his brother Heinrich Mann s novels The Blue Angel and Man of Straw.The concerns with philosophy and music that Mann developed further in The Magic Mountain and Doctor Faustus here suggest that the decline in the world is balanced by an inner refinement That the increasing interior richness of their lives renders them unable to compete with their local rivals, the grossly corporeal Hagenstrom family For all their status inside the city the new Germany is dominated by the old landed aristocracy something that will be expressed withbrutality and bitterness in Man of Straw by Tom s brother Henrich Mann The gloomy, pessimistic story is told with irony, which can keep the characters at arm s length, but then since they tended to fail to achieve connections with spouses and other contemporaries was perhaps just what the author intended He escaped and transcended his heritage his characters couldn t

  8. Fabian {Councillor} says:

    The sad thing is that one lives but once one can t begin life over again And one would know so much better the second timeThe family saga of the Buddenbrooks is considered a classic of German literature, a book many people have already heard about, yet never read for a very simple reason it s loooong And if you appreciate your books with action and thrilling stuff, then Thomas Mann s novel is not exactly the book you should turn to because it would only disappoint you.It tookThe sad thing is that one lives but once one can t begin life over again And one would know so much better the second timeThe family saga of the Buddenbrooks is considered a classic of German literature, a book many people have already heard about, yet never read for a very simple reason it s loooong And if you appreciate your books with action and thrilling stuff, then Thomas Mann s novel is not exactly the book you should turn to because it would only disappoint you.It took me almost three months to fight my way through the novel I read the original German version, and as a native German speaker, let me tell you something reading classics in German is muchdifficult than reading classics in English And Thomas Mann certainly knows how to keep his sentences long winded, letting them run on and on over the course of half a page before finally ending the sentence if you re lucky Back in school, my German teacher would have had a mental breakdown if I d made him read sentences like this in my exams.Basically, the story of the Buddenbrooks consists of a plot outlined in an exceedingly detailed way, narrated through a lot of different days set in the family members everyday life, which includes a lot of time jumps Dealing with their struggles and important events like births, deaths, marriages, divorces and financial businesses, the characters are elaborately established, especially siblings Tony and Thomas, who soon solidify their roles as main protagonists Both are flawed human beings, are responsible for a lot of mistakes, and have to deal with the deeds they have committed in the past The story revolves around the development of the main characters, as Thomas Mann allowed readers to follow Tony, Thomas, Christian and other characters from their childhoods to their deaths Mann did not even attempt to make his characters appear perfect, he attempted and succeeded to make them appear realistic Certain supporting characters lack some attention by the author, but in my opinion, Mann managed to unite plot and character development nearly perfectlyOften, the outward and visible material signs and symbols of happiness and success only show themselves when the process of decline has already set in The outer manifestations take time like the light of that star up there, which may in reality be already quenched, when it looks to us to be shining its brightestThe sentences are laboriously convoluted, sometimes leaving me without any kind of overview on how this sentence may be structured The writing style is not difficult to read and understand, though Mann is able to write engaging chapters, using exactly the right lengths and engaging his readers by creating an interesting atmosphere and allowing you to easily imagine the setting in front of your imaginary eye And there is a certain subtlety about his humor, which I was personally able to enjoy a lot.If you don t know much about this time period, then Thomas Mann s epic novel about this huge family living and working in L beck a city at the Baltic Sea in Northern Germany, set in a region which I can only recommend visiting might be quite an interesting reading experience It s a tedious book, but ultimately, it was absolutely worth the time I spent reading it Review completely rewritten 14 April 2017

  9. Hugh says:

    My previous experiences of Mann were The Magic Mountain and Doctor Faustus, both of which were rewarding but challenging Buddenbrooks was Mann s first major novel, a thinly veiled account of his own family s rise and fall over the course of the mid nineteenth century For a book written by a young man who was only 25 when it was published, it is extremely impressive, but it is very much a book of its time, and by modern standards it sometimes seems glacially slow moving, but very atmospheric, a My previous experiences of Mann were The Magic Mountain and Doctor Faustus, both of which were rewarding but challenging Buddenbrooks was Mann s first major novel, a thinly veiled account of his own family s rise and fall over the course of the mid nineteenth century For a book written by a young man who was only 25 when it was published, it is extremely impressive, but it is very much a book of its time, and by modern standards it sometimes seems glacially slow moving, but very atmospheric, and it recreates a lost world in vivid detail.The story starts in 1835, when its main protagonists are children, and their grandfather Johann is in charge of the trading firm that supports the wealthy Buddenbrook family, merchants and leading lights of L beck s ruling class His two sons are the disinherited Gotthold, who lost favour by marrying against his father s wishes, and Consul Johann, his heir The main protagonists are Consul Johann s children Thomas, who becomes the final head of the family business view spoiler inheriting it young after his father s sudden death, steering it to a high point when he becomes a senator and overreaches himself by building an excessively grand new house, before presiding over the decline of the company and its eclipse by local rivals, and then dies early himself hide spoiler and Antonie Tony , whose two disastrous marriages are only brief interludes as she spends most of her life at the heart of the family in L beck In the second half of the book we are introduced to Thomas s son Hanno, who must be at least partly a vehicle to allow Mann to discuss some of the traumatic events of his own childhood for example the long chapters on the family Christmas and a typically disastrous school day He is also something of a musical prodigy, which allows Mann to discuss an interest he developed in much greater detail in Doctor Faustus view spoiler The book ends on a tragic note with the surviving women dealing with the aftermath of Hanno s death from typhoid fever hide spoiler This is not a book that will appeal to all modern readers it does demand a degree of patience, but I found it very readable, and a very enjoyable one to immerse myself in over a holiday period No doubt I am only scratching the surface of what could be said about it

  10. Chrissie says:

    Absolutely excellent, descriptive writing Writing that pulls the reader in Characters that are fully developed and totally real A book with humor A book with serious topics to consider A book about life s ups and downs Every time the theme changed I was astonished to once again see how this topic and that topic and every topic touched upon had something to say to me A long book that does not drag I loved reading a book set in Germany before either of the world wars The Revolution of 194 Absolutely excellent, descriptive writing Writing that pulls the reader in Characters that are fully developed and totally real A book with humor A book with serious topics to consider A book about life s ups and downs Every time the theme changed I was astonished to once again see how this topic and that topic and every topic touched upon had something to say to me A long book that does not drag I loved reading a book set in Germany before either of the world wars The Revolution of 1948 and the war against Denmark are briefly featured I enjoyed observing, with humor, cultural differences within the country, how the Prussians view the Bavarians and the Bavarians the Prussians The setting is primarily L beck in the 1800s Clothing, foods, furniture, beliefs and traditions of the era and place are all picturesquely depicted Here is a multi generational novel where a large number of characters are introduced early in the story and stay around long enough so that the reader comes to know each one intimately The characters mature yet each remains true to their distinctive personality There are characters with widely differing traits, but usually there were both good and bad qualities in each individual, and this made each feel real Themes There are so many Loyalty to one s family Sibling relationships jealousies, competitiveness and innate differences Family enterprises Moral standards The importance of art and music All of which can be weighed one against the other Choices must be made This is a new audiobook it came out in October 2016 The narration by David Rintoul is stupendous When an audiobook is this well read it is impossible not to recommend listening to it rather than reading it Fantastic intonations for the respective characters Perfect speed Perfect pronunciation of French and German dialects A simply wonderful narration This is a classic to be read or preferably listened to After a bitthan 1 3 I am liking this a lot Wonderful writing Very descriptive, but in a good way You see everything right before your eyes There is humor The events pull you in When terrible things happen, even to people you dislike, you care, you need to know how the problem will be resolved.It has been ages since I have read such a great multi generational saga David Rintoul reads the new audibook wonderfully

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