Subtlety of Magic Mountain

Maud Newton is repeating an earlier attempt to read Mann’s Magic Mountain.

I’ve been enjoying Magic Mountain daily for almost four weeks, interspersed by one or two shorter books. The reputation for dryness, particularly in the debates between Settembrini and Naphta, meant the book waited patiently on my shelves for several years.

I am now limiting myself to roughly fifty ages a day in order not to rush the story. As Byatt writes in the introduction, this is a subtle, ironic and deeply funny story. The debates between the “humanist” and the “radical” are engaging and droll. I have yet to find a dull passage.When I finish the story, possibly at the weekend, it will be time for another short break from fiction.

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