Thursday, August 14, 2008

Review: Siddhartha

I've been reading several books by Nobel Prize winners lately, in part because I signed up for this Nobel challenge, in part because I have a goal to read at least one book by every winner of the Nobel Prize for literature. Siddhartha was one more step forward on both counts.

I can't say that it did anything for me. Siddhartha is the hero of this allegorical tale of an Indian man's development, from Brahmin student, to mystic, to successful business man and pleasure seeker, to wise ferryboat tender. Maybe back in 1922 when it was first published, or even in the 1960s and '70s when American hippies took it to heart, the examination of Indian mysticism and Buddhism would have been fascinating. But now, when Indian culture is more familiar, it just seems pretentious and overwrought. Many people love it. It just is not my cup of tea.


Anonymous said...

Swinging by from LibraryThing- the lay out of your blog is quite nice. Simpler to me is always better. And I tend to concur with your appraisal of Siddharta. Sometimes a book has to hit you at the right time to reveal its strengths and I think it benefits most from a younger audience.
- TwaCorbies

Rose City Reader said...

Thanks for the compliment!

Yes, I think I would have had more interest in, and more patience for, Siddhartha when I was in my 20s instead of now in my 40s. Timing.

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