Saturday, 20 March 2021

Steppenwolfery

I am over half way through "Steppenwolf" and in some ways wouldn't recommend it to anybody, but the fact I am half way through it after a week still wondering what's going on means that it must have something going for it. Obviously Hermann Hesse is German and this feels set in roughly the same universe as "Cabaret" , pre WW2 Germany in the background of some Brechtian libretto.

The font in the book is readable and  Hesse's style certainly doesn't stop you from reading, and I will finish the book. I do like chapters or breaks where you can leave the book at a defined point and also have a point to aim for . Because I don't think that there are any breaks until the end. I thought that "Tarantula" by Bob Dylan was the same , but it's not and it's only just over a hundred pages, and that might be a next re read after "Steppenwolf". I am sure I have read other single passage books, but now I can't think of which ones.

So while I wouldn't recommend "Steppenwolf" I would not discourage you from reading it, though it does feel like walking down a long straight road through unchanging architecture or countryside. There are few signs that you are progressing apart from the knowledge that you have read and the page numbers. Imagine a big single passage book with no page numbers, I think I would find that a major challenge.

So music wise I was listening to my David Bowie "Platinum Collection" and one of the songs was "Alabama Song" from Brecht's "Threepenny Opera", I was going to share Bowie's version (it was also covered by The Doors) but I found a performance by Lotte Lenya which I think would be most in keeping with "Steppenwolf".

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