This is a blog about my reads as well as everything related to them.
My taste is for good quality literature - old and new. Some of it I review here or on my main book blog Edith's Miscellany.
Hermann Hesse's famous novel Siddhartha was published in German already in 1922, but the first English translation didn’t come out before 1951. The story is set in ancient India at the time when Buddha found enlightenment under the Bodhi tree and made his teachings. In fact, the novel’s title as well as its plot remind of the life of Buddha who was born as Siddhartha Gautama, Prince of Kapilvastu. Also Hermann Hesse’s protagonist Siddhartha starts into life as a privileged child although not of an Indian king, but of a Brahmin. Growing older he finds his life empty of meaning and leaves home to seek enlightenment. In his quest Siddhartha is accompanied by his childhood friend Govinda who idolizes him. During their travels as wandering and begging ascetics they meet the Buddha – called Gotama in the novel – and listen to his teachings. Govinda decides to follow the way of the Buddha as a monk, but Siddhartha doesn’t get from him the answers that he is looking for. He continues his quest and falls in love with the beautiful courtesan Kamala. In order to please her, Siddhartha gives up his life as an ascetic and becomes a successful businessman. But neither his life with Kamala nor all the luxury that he revels in can satisfy him in the long run. Eventually, he gets restless again and leaves his comfortable home. Siddhartha is tired of life and longs for death. When he meets the ferryman Vasudeva who seems fully at peace with himself, he decides to stay with him and to learn the trade of a ferryman. Siddhartha also learns to listen to the river and its infinite wisdom, but life has yet another important lesson in store for him.