Thursday, August 14, 2008
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.