Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain, 1924.
When I red The Magic Mountain by the German novelist and Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann for the first time, I realized that I was the protagonist of the book! Like Hans Castorp I was young, curious, naive, a bit arrogant, full of questions, eager to read, to think and have long conversations about life and the world I live in.
The Magic Mountain is the story about the best spirits and worst demons of European culture. It is a story about how a young man becomes an adult through a thorough education in European humanism. It is an education about the human condition, human love and human tragedy. It is a cultivation of the soul. And although illness and death should never be denied, as they are part of life and provide a deeper understanding and experience of our soul and existence than reason can ever offer to us, these dark powers should never be allowed to rule our thought for the sake of goodness and love. In the end this is a story about us as a homo dei, the human being with his religious questions about his nature and destiny, the eternal secret of his existence and the awareness of transcendental values.