100 books, book review, books, Hesse, literature, Nobel Prize
The sixth book selected for my challenge was Rosshalde by Hermann Hesse. Hesse is one of my favorite authors of all time. His novels are always insightful, poignant, and deeply moving. That being said, Rosshalde is probably my least favorite Hesse work. It has all of the same qualities as his other books, but is simply too predictable. It tells the story of world-famous painter Johann Veraguth at his idyllic estate, Rosshalde. Veraguth is trapped in a loveless marriage out of devotion to his young son Pierre. The painter yearns for a life of freedom, away from the daily disappointment that life at Rosshalde has become for him. The only thing that keeps him from packing up and going to live with his best friend in India is his son. Veraguth finally decides that he must surrender his son to his wife for all of their sakes. Tragedy strikes and the boy dies, freeing Veraguth from both the facade of his life in Rosshalde and the pain of leaving behind the one person he truly loves.
Don’t get me wrong, Rosshalde is a very moving book. Hesse evokes the pain of a conflicted soul as well as (if not better than) any other writer. The plot is simply very predictable. I had a pretty good idea of what was coming after only a few pages. It is a beautifully written book well worth a read, but do not expect something as original as Steppenwolf or Das Glasperlenspiel.
The Current Count:
6 Read, 94 To Go
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Razor Chuckles said:
I just finished Rosshalde, and it’s my first Hesse novel (won’t be my last!). I was impressed with his colorful language and ability to get inside the soul of an artist. I also enjoyed the small moments where he wrote from the point of view of Pierre, the young boy. The scenes (or dreams) the boy had as he neared death and wandering through the surreal gardens tore me apart. Looking forward to more of his work.