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The Journey To The East (Book Review)

Funny, engaging, can read in one sitting. Author Herman Hesse seems to be poking fun of himself in this book, with the main character, H.H., determined to write a novel about an enlightenment, but unable to realize his own blindness to the world’s answers. The author of Steppenwolf and Siddhartha, I have never read a book by Hesse that didn’t inspire deep introspection and the beautiful horror of the present moment.

How to write about the travels to the East without exposing the Leagues’ “secrets”? H.H. muses:

“One paradox, however, must be accepted and this is that it is necessary to continually attempt the seemingly impossible.”

While trying to recount his travels with The League, H.H. continually gets caught up on a single day during the trip when their servant, Leo disappears. Later in the book, he tracks down the lost Leo, and Leo doesn’t seem to recognize H.H. or answer his questions. He seems to be on his own playing field, summing his life philosophy up as follows:

“That is just what life is when it is beautiful and happy- a game! Naturally, one can also do all kinds of other things with it, make a duty of it, or a battleground, or a prison, but that does not make it any prettier.”

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© Copyright 2018 Annie Windholz

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe —

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