Thursday, January 6, 2011
The Magic Mountain
Something about winter in Buffalo encourages me to sink my teeth into long European novels. I can't quite remember if I read this one in Winter 2006-7 or Fall 2007. I know I read tomorrow's book by Mann in the winter of 2007-2008. That book is so long that I suspect it took most of the winter to read, as would have this one, which means it is likely I read it over the winter of 2006-2007. It had been recommended to me by my old friend, Genya Turovskaya when she came to town for a reading.
I remember lying in bed, in the midst of a snowy Buffalo winter, wrapped in a comforter, and reading about the sanitarium for consumptives, where, in the midst of a snowy alpine winter, they sat outside on the terrace, wrapped in pod-like comforters, breathing in the supposedly beneficial cold mountain air, and enjoying the little parallel between my current state and, though slightly envying their view, if not their illness.
I would put The Magic Mountain high on my list of favorite novels. Very high.
from The Magic Mountain
An ordinary young man was on his way from his hometown of Hamburg to Davos-Platz in the canton of Graubünden. It was the height of summer, and he planned to stay for three weeks.
It is a long trip, however, from Hamburg to those elevations--too long, really, for so short a visit. The journey leads through many a landscape, uphill and down, descends from the high plain of southern Germany to the shores of Swabia's sea, and proceeds by boat across its skipping waves, passing over abysses once thought unfathomable.