Death in Venice

ISBN: 0060727527
ISBN 13: 9780060727529
By: Thomas Mann Simon Callow Michael Henry Heim Michael Cunningham

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About this book

The world-famous masterpiece by Nobel laureate Thomas Mann here in a new translation by Michael Henry Heim.Published on the eve of World War I, a decade after Buddenbrooks had established Thomas Mann as a literary celebrity, Death in Venice tells the story of Gustav von Aschenbach, a successful but aging writer who follows his wanderlust to Venice in search of spiritual fulfillment that instead leads to his erotic doom.In the decaying city, besieged by an unnamed epidemic, he becomes obsessed with an exquisite Polish boy, Tadzio. "It is a story of the voluptuousness of doom," Mann wrote. "But the problem I had especially in mind was that of the artist's dignity."

Reader's Thoughts

Carmo Santos

Thomas Mann não é um autor fácil, tem uma escrita elaborada e requintada com reflexões profundas e complexas que se espraiam ao longo de parágrafos extensos e capítulos enormes. As descrições dos ambientes são rigorosas e muito sensoriais. Quase se sentem os cheiros e os ruídos, nos passeios a pé ou de gôndola através da cidade. É uma leitura que exige concentração - algo difícil nestes dias de calor abrasador - e por vezes terminava uma frase, sem já saber como ela tinha começado. Foram tantas as vezes que voltei atrás na leitura, que, bem feitas contas, devo ter lido o livro umas três vezes.Morte em Veneza é uma narrativa sem diálogos, onde só se toma conhecimento dos pensamentos da personagem principal, Aschenbah, um escritor conhecido e admirado, cuja vida se pautou pelo rigor e disciplina. De férias em Veneza, apaixona-se por um adolescente que é a personificação da beleza ideal e pura. Entrega-se de forma obcecada àquela paixão platónica, e começa uma análise retrospectiva de toda a sua vida, e a encarar o futuro sobre uma nova perspetiva. Lança-se então num perseguição feroz ao rapaz, que o vai colocar em situações por vezes ridículas e em última instância, a desafiar a própria morte.Dizem as más línguas que este livro tem muito de autobiográfico, também Thomas Mann de passagem por Veneza, terá ficado deveras impressionado com um jovem de grande beleza que conheceu no mesmo hotel em que se passa esta história.Ainda não sei se bastou este livro para ficar fâ convicta de Mann, mas sei que foi suficiente para me deixar com vontade de ler mais. Em espera estão mais dois - pequeninos - depois...bem, depois verei se tenho coragem, ou não, para escalar A Montanha Mágica.


The main character of this novella, a writer called Aschenbach, seriously got rather creepy with his fixation on a beautiful young Polish boy called Tadzio while on vacation in Venice, but Mann is amazing the way he captures Aschenbach. It seems so true to life as a characterisation to me. I could see Aschenbach as a T.S. Eliot: a cold and sterile intellectual artist type of person who writes perfect things. Aschenbach's romantic fixation on the young boy can either be taken as straight forward paedophile or symbolic of how giving free to passions and 'living' life is full of problems and constraints, and so reflective of Aschenbach's existence, that obviously, he could not have a robustly healthy and balanced approach to.A beautifully and aristocratically written novella, like a perfect fresco or fountain in the Classical style, and there is some perfect symbolism too, with the decay of cholera and the ending.

Harry Kane

This is a novella detailing the decline and death of aged respectable author, who has subjugated his entire adult life to his formidable intellect. The repressed unconscious material emerges in three symbolical orgiastic manifestations: 1) paranoia of ginger men and feeling that they keep popping up everywhere; 2) hysterical disgust at an aged man he sees, who tries to fraternize greasily with strapping young lads; 3) the aged author’s increasingly disturbing fascination with beautiful 14 year old boy he sees in his hotel in Venice.Gustav von Aschenbach never does confront the root of his intellect/orgiastic impulses split, but instead fights the impulses until they overwhelm his tired aged frame, and then submits to them, at the same time as the pre-antibiotic Venice infects him with cholera. Lovingly written with many asides, for which I love Mann so, this is an impeccable presentation of the decline of the psyche and organism of an aged author, and his final grasps at the straw of youth, health, and joy of life – through his fascination with 14 year old Tadzio.Warning: you have reached the Butthurt portion of reviewThere are certain people... they think Death in Venice would be a much ‘better’ book if a) Tadzio was 18, and the story ended with him and von Aschenbach singing ‘We Are Family’ or b) if the author tried to make out with Tadzio and was then tried for pedophilia. Same people who think Anna Karenina is a slow moving historical romance; that The Great Gatsby is a slow moving crime thriller/romance. ‘If only these old authors knew how to really write’, they imply. 'If only they were as enlightened as we are, and knew how to write cliffhangers, preferably inside a Hero’s Journey superstructure. Or at least were not afraid to deal with issues correctly and openly, like we do today, for we are the culmination of humanity’s history and actually get stuff.'People, stop torturing yourself and others with these attempts to deal with the classics, especially non-Anglosaxon such. If you’re only reading them for prestige, the effect is quite counterproductive. Stick to reality shows and fashionable contemporary fiction. Best for all concerned, really. A good author is aware of many of his impulses which people ordinary repress beyond consciousness. Homosexual impulses, incest impulses, murder impulses, rape impulses, defecate where I want to impulses, stealing impulses, retreat into catatonia impulses, etc. Now, before anyone has a rage-induced anal prolapse, I’d like just to clarify that I’m not implying that homosexual impulses are equal to murder impulses, I’m just enumerating. If you’d like your personal fetish/lifestyle to not be included, please send application form A 6.Mann was very aware of his homosexual impulses and pedophilic such. Today’s full of it critics call it his ‘struggle with homosexuality’, implying that poor repressed coward didn’t have the guts to come out of the closet, leading the European elite into a new era, and maybe even preventing WWI and II. But I digress. We are all made up of impulses. It’s one thing to recognize them and juggle their interaction, allowing one 20% freedom, another 70%, and a third one – no freedom, only sublimation in one form or another. It’s quite another thing to automatically take one’s own character structure as ‘how everyone should be’ and look with pity and some gloating at the unfortunate imbeciles who do not have your laser intellect and iron courage to be exactly like you.I don’t know why I think Mann should be defended, and that I should be the one to bother. I’m certainly not taking this up as a day job, or even a hobby. But today I just felt that someone had to say all this. And I did. Cheers.

Philippe Malzieu

I acknowledge to have read the book after having seen the film of Visconti. Difficult to forget the Lido, Dick Bogarde and the adagio of the 5° symphony of Malher. There is all in this short account: life and death, old age and youth, the desire and homosexuality, the beauty and the ugliness, there is all.Aschenbach wishes Tadzio because his beauty fascinate him. Allusions to Greece are there to attenuate the homosexual aspect. But there is a risk to see only that and the film of Visconti is there for something.Epidemy is here. The danger is there around threatening. It kills and Aschenbach himself will die about it. This brilliant company isolated on the beach from the Lido is encircled. The cholera approaches. This book was published in 1912. Difficult not to see there a metaphor on the First World War.


Just finished reading this for the second time. The few extra years and small amount of insight I've gained since the time of my first reading in 2009 just made this book seem a deeper well, rather than a shallower, more manageable one. It's definitely brilliant, and the movie version--however interesting--fails to capture all of its richness. Reading this with the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy in mind (something I didn't much consider the first time) definitely enhanced my understanding of Aschenbach as an artist and his obsession with Tadzio. Still, I often felt like a blind man groping in the dark, sensing only the reverberations of genius pulsing beneath my feet. December, 2009 review:This complex, little story definitely requires multiple readings - at least from me. I am in no way prepared to discuss the meaning of this book in any sort of coherent way. But I do sense that it's quite the mini-masterpiece. The imagery is wonderful, particularly descriptions of the setting, of the beautiful Tadzio and of the various grotesque harbingers of death that confront the protagonist throughout the story. The tension the author creates through the juxtaposition of beauty and ugliness, youth and decay, and purity and corruption is so rich. I want people who are smarter than I am to read this book and then tell me about it.


This is a book which I really struggled to finish as on numerous occasions was so tempted to just pack it in. I was certainly grateful that it only ran to 64 pages. I found myself reading nearly every paragraph twice as each seemed so conveluted. I believe in free speech and not in censorship so have no real problem with the subject matter even if it does smack of paedophilia, which to every right-minded person should be abhorant. All the same I am amazed that a book like this was ever published but then perhaps paedophilia was not as well publized by the press as it is today. I believe that Mann himself struggled with his own sexuality so perhaps this book is a symbol of that inner struggle.I did not like the main character much and felt him conceited and self-centred. The writing style and plot was painfully slow. I am not too great on my Greek mythology so struggled to the relevance on more than one occasion and the ending seemed somewhat inadequate.On the whole not my type of book and not one that will live long in the memory. If truth be told it felt like a book written with the express aim of winning a literary prize, to satisfy the so called intelligenzia rather than for the pleasure of the general public but at least it was so short.

Ahmed Azimov

توماس مان تقدم للدور القيادي في التعبير عن الجمال عند العدميين الروايه ماده دسمه آمن بها فيسكونتي تماما قبل أن يبدعها في صورة فنية فاقت الوصف ، توماس مان العظيم الفشيخ استفاض في تأملاته على لسان حال عجوزه اشنباخ المهترئ - إن صح التعبير -


Since the piece is well known as being a landmark work of fiction regarding male homosexuality, I am not going to focus on that in my review, or on its other element that has been flogged to death as well, being the rather extreme youth (age 14) of the love object. -----Well! What a conflicting piece of fiction. The novella seems fairly divisive amongst critics, but one thing that I think most of us can agree on, is that the novella is a discomfiting piece of writing. I suspect this was so for the author as well as for his readers.For me this was not because of how the protagonist's obsession affected his love-object, but because of how this obsession affected the protagonist himself. ... and, I couldn't shake the feeling that the novella was pretty much autobiographical in many senses. (I found out later that it was so in many respects, and the love-object is based on a real person. Most uncomfortable of all, is that the 'real' Tadzio, was the 10-year old Wladyslaw Moes).Achenbach, the protagonist, is a well-respected author, who, like Mann, tends to engage with political and intellectual issues in his work. Like Achenbach, Mann visited Venice, where he made the acquaintance of a young boy whose beauty he apparently admired; with the difference that Mann was accompanied by his wife and brother, while Achenbach was alone. Okay, there are a few other differences as well - and one pretty large one, but that's a spoiler.Many reviewers and critics have made much ado about the protagonist's homosexuality and/or his pederastic inclinations, but I think what disturbed me most was the stalker-ish intensity of the protagonist's infatuation, and to an extent also how he totally overromanticized the idea of physical beauty, using purple prose and overblown idealistic sentiments to describe his thoughts on physical human beauty, (which I deeply disagree with), and which Mann propped up with symbolism from Greek mythology, and references to Platonic ideals.Ironically, Björn Johan Andrésen, who played the role of the fourteen-year-old Tadzio in Luchino Visconti's 1971 film adaptation of Death in Venice, is credited with saying: “One of the diseases of the world is that we associate beauty with youth. We are wrong. The eyes and the face are the windows of the soul and these become more beautiful with the age and pain that life brings. True ugliness comes only from having a black heart”.Because I have long known that beauty is only skin-deep, I like those sentiments a lot better than: ... he believed that his eyes gazed upon beauty itself, form as divine thought, the sole and pure perfection that dwells in the mind and whose human likeness and representation, lithe and lovely, was here displayed for veneration. This was intoxication, and the aging artist welcomed it unquestioningly, indeed, avidly. His mind was in a whirl, his cultural convictions in ferment; his memory cast up ancient thoughts passed on to him in his youth though never yet animated by his own fire. Was it not common knowledge that the sun diverts our attention from the intellectual to the sensual? It benumbs and bewitches both reason and memory such that the soul in its elation quite forgets its true nature and clings with rapt delight to the fairest of sundrenched objects, nay, only with the aid of the corporeal can it ascend to more lofty considerations. Cupid truly did as mathematicians do when they show concrete images of pure forms to incompetent pupils: he made the mental visible to us by using the shape and coloration of human youths and turned them into memory's tool by adorning them with all the luster of beauty and kindling pain and hope in us at the sight of them...Some interesting thoughts there, though I disagree with the sentiments expressed in bold. Were these the thoughts of the protagonist, or the author himself? From his notes, it would seem that these were actually Mann's own sentiments. They do seem a perfect rationalization for a man in Achenbach's position to make though, which makes them pretty fitting in their context, I must concede.I am surprised that so many people, with so much evidence to the contrary, can still invoke Plato's ideas of essence = form when it comes to physical beauty = spiritual beauty. Surely, it doesn't require too much contemplation to come to the conclusion that physical beauty does not equal spiritual beauty?One could muse that perhaps what Achenbach is rather saying, in what seems like a rationalization for his passion, that beauty can inspire love, the latter which is in itself beautiful. ...and yet, since in this specific context the object of that passion is so young, and vain, and since they had never even exchanged a word with one another, could this be love? Methinks not - this could surely be but an infatuation of the senses.From the notes Mann made for the writing of the novella, it is clear that part of what he wanted to show, was that an artist (an author like himself) cannot be a dignified, purely rational creature, that he needs to be in touch with his passions and emotions, and that the act of creating art is inherently not a dispassionate activity.Something else that Mann seems to be saying behind the scenes, is that love itself cannot be dignified, that love pushes an individual into undignified behavior. Mann being a fairly obviously repressed individual, one can read a certain parallel between the disease that infects Venice, with Achenbach's almost insane passion (insanity features in Mann's notes). Mann seems to see these homosexual pederastic impulses that one surmises he felt himself, as at the same time degrading and ennobling. Ennobling, so the reasoning seems to go, in the sense of that when a person degrades himself for love, it can be seen as a kind of sacrifice of dignity for a higher cause (being, in this case, "love").But one can only follow such reasoning if you can agree that a passion that seems so distant, unrealistic and physical can be ennobling and can be described as "love". To put the matter in a slightly different context - make a small leap in your mind and imagine that the love-object here is instead a 40-year old woman. If the latter was the case, would the scenario in DIV still be creepy? Indeed, it would. What would make the scenario still creepy? It would still be a purely physical obsession characterized by stalkerish behaviour.So one ends up asking yourself how far selfishly and obsessively stalking someone can really be an expression of love? ..and if it is to the extent that one puts this behaviour of yours above the wellbeing of its object? ..and what when the continuation of this behaviour puts the other's life in danger, then is it not actually selfishness and the opposite of love?(view spoiler)[ Achenbach deliberately does not tell Tadzio's mother about the epidemic in order to avoid the outcome that Tadzio's family would leave the resort; which would remove Tadzio from the older man's proximity. In fact, I was sort of visualizing an ending in which Tadzio dies of Cholera, and Achenbach is racked with guilt, possibly even driven totally mad with guilt) (hide spoiler)]Of course, when the object of your obsession is only 14 years old, not making contact can probably be seen as the nobler action to take than to make contact; and sticking to stalking behaviour is probably preferable to some potential alternatives.In spite of my criticism of Mann's ideas and of his patches of overwrought, overemotional purple prose, the latter suits the subject of the story well, and there are certainly a lot of thought-provoking ideas and well-executed imagery.Mann also displays keen insight into his characters. He portrays the aging, smitten homosexual well, and the dissolution of his personality via the intensity of his obsession is conveyed with pathos despite the relentless dissection under Mann's unnerving microscope. One feels torn between pity for Achenbach while at the same time suppressing a shudder at the creepiness of his stalking behavior - but Mann manages to make him look pathetic more than anything else. Mann also remarks on Tadzio's narcissism with acute insight. According to The Real Tadzio: Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and the Boy Who Inspired It, the latter was indeed a pretty narcissistic person who enjoyed the attentions of older men, so Mann was pretty spot-on with his portrayals.All-in-all, as with all good fiction, the novel leaves one with conflicted feelings. And, like all good fiction, it makes you roll around its various elements in your head, considering and re-considering; trying to find definite stances. The fact that the latter is so hard to do with this work of fiction, is a part of what makes it good fiction, whether one agrees with all of the specific ideas put forward by it or not.--- I must mention that I started the novella with the e-book version of the translation by Michael Henry Heim, and finished with the translation by Clayton Koelb, with some cross-over where I read passages out of both. The latter claims to be the most natural and most US-friendly translation out there, but these two translations appeared fairly similar to me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


A good book to be taught in tandem with Lolita, methinks. A literary achievement with the psychology of Tolstoy and a Greek commitment to The Story; and that is not the only thing about this book that is 'Greek'. A treatise on Death, Life, Sex, Desire, and Fear, Death in Venice is both enticing and terrifying, and for the self-same reason. Here is the face of wretched animal man, teeth bared, cloudy desperation mocking his vision. Mann's succinct and powerful images are always reversed: the raw and brutal emotion herein is become feral, mitigated only by how it twists back upon itself as only such a morally indistinct, labyrinthine mass may so twist.Eminently pleasing and disturbing, this battle between the barely-restrained Epicurean and the resignedly Absurdist meets the latter's comic fruition in the former's faux-tragic inaccessibility.


Jesam li ja jedina kojoj se čini da je ova knjiga više o umjetnosti i opsesiji nego o nekakvoj pedofiliji? Mislim nekako nisam primijetila nekakav seksualni aspekt u opsesiji protagonista- nekako mi se više čini kako je ta opsesija sama sebi svrhom, nešto kao i umjetnost, možda nekakva metafora za umjetnost. Nije mi se baš činilo da je protagonist zaljubljen u tog dječaka ili da se istražuje neka neprikladna veza između djeteta i odrasle osobe. Nije baš da pokušava uspostaviti nekakav odnos sa dječakom, samo ga prati. No, dobro i to praćenje je izvor mogućeg uznemirenja za dijete. Ako se radi o još nečemu, zašto nam pisac to ne otkrije kad već otkriva sve ostalo o protagonistu? Možda je i to dio djela, nisam sigurna.Čini mi se da se ovdje više radi o nekakvom sukobu razuma i strasti, nekakvog upita može li se to dvoje udružiti. Možda je tu i neka aluzija na stare grke. Čini mi se da je dječak više nekakva metafora za ljepotu, za umjetnost bez intelekta. Sjetim se odmah Doriana Graya. To u protagonistu koji je pisac i čovjek intelekta (da ne kažemo i Nijemac) izaziva nekakvu krizu. O čemu se tu točno radi? Možda čak i sukob između karaktera južne i zapadne Europe? Možda se južni narodi bolje nauče živjeti sa strastima upravo zato jer im se ne opiru, dok jednog intelektualca sjevera pometu jer je nepripremljen na njih? Ne znam što je autor htio reći, nisam baš stručnjak za Thomasa Manna. Ne razumijem ovaj roman sasvim, da budem iskrena, ali znam da nema baš previše zajedničkog sa filmskom verzijom i da nije sada nekakav pokušaj da se opravda nešto što se ne može opravdati, kao što je zlostavljanje djece.


I did not love this all. Very weird. The writing is dense & complex, which is not necessarily bad, but Aschenbach is a character that I find rather repulsive. His obsessive nature creeps me out, and it's not just his obsession with Tadzio, but his obsessively dismal outlook, his obsessive need for change, and his obsessive desire to learn what is really happening in Venice. He is such a strange, off-putting individual (and in fact, all the characters are off-putting) that it is difficult to appreciate Mann's nuanced writing as a result.


I bet someone could write a masterpiece by taking this book’s premise and elongating it into a fuller exploration of the child-adult love taboo. Oh, really? Oh.This book really does read like a Lolita written 40 years prior with Lo’s gender switched and a premature ending just before things get really interesting (if you know what I mean). Death in Venice is equally engrossing and sports a protagonist, Aschenbach, who’s as well developed, far more relatable, and nearly as interesting as our dear Humbert Humbert. The novel does feel cut-off though, as if Mann were afraid to explore the tale any further, and it also includes a not-so-faint whiff of moralizing that’s rather absent in Nabokov’s version. Aschenbach’s portrayal as a driven, successful, and now weary late middle-aged writer is so convincing that I was surprised to learn that Mann wrote this in his mid-30s. The characterization’s so good, in fact, that I was sure it had to be mostly autobiographical. Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it’s damn good writing that’s on display for too few pages. I’ll be returning to Mann, and hopefully soon.

Fatema Hassan , bahrain

الموت في البندقية رواية قصيرة لتوماس مان سردها رشيق و مكثف ، سريع بشكلٍ لا يتنافى مع العذوبة الروائي الشهير الخمسيني الذي يذهب ليروّح عن ذاته في البندقية ينصدم بمشاعر مختلطة جديدة كلية عليه كان في السابق يزدري من يعبر عنها بشكل صريح ، مشاعر قد تتلاشى أمامها القيم لكنه يحاول فصل اعجابه بالفتى البولوني تادزيو كتمثال جميل في شكله الصوري عن أي رغبات فعلية قد تجرفه لما لا يتماشى وسمعته التي كدّ لبنائها ، و يؤذي روحه .كيف يترفع عن الانحطاط و روحه تتناهبها الشيطانية من ملائكيتها ، فتركن تلك الروح تلقائيًا لشيطانها مما يشوهها بشكلٍ حتمي و يزهقها تدريجيا الجدير بالذكر أن الموت هو البندقية القدرية كلية القدرة على الجسد بينما تبقى الروح مترفعة أو منحطة بعيدًا عن أي مرمى يسيطر عليه الموت ، فموت الأرواح يتعلق بنواياها تلك حكاية غوستاف اشنباخ و الفتى البولوني

Erik Graff

This novella was assigned reading for the freshman humanities class at Grinnell College. Sadly, we were given a day to read the thing and devoted only a bit of time to its discussion. It was likely the first thing I'd ever read by Mann. At the time I was only eighteen, still a virgin, and probably only abstractly sensitive to the plight of age represented in the story. The eroticism of the dream description, however, made an impression. It was both powerfully evocative and scary. Two years later, in 1971, the film version appeared. I only saw the trailer, but it brought back the memory of the novella. The soundtrack, Mahler being my favorite classical composer, effectively intensified the pathos. Then, that night, a couple of us had the real, serious discussion about the story which had not occurred in the classroom. Now, having read a great deal of Mann and grown quite a bit older, the respect I have for the work has only increased. One is accustomed to think that frank treatments of sex, homosexuality and pederasty are modern, but this was first published in 1912!--and, compared to a great deal of modern fiction, it is far less sensationalistic, far more true to common lived experience. Upon finishing the class, I finished the other stories in the book.


I'd like to read another book by Thomas Mann in order to determine whether Death in Venice is extremely well written, or just an a-typical production of tired and old fashioned writing. If his other works are stylistically different, this book would be a triumph, as the writing not only emphasises the protagonist's stuffy and conservative lifestyle - it serves to create an extreme dislike for the man.The story is interesting enough and I haven't any real complaint or praise for the actual plot. The fact that I ended up thinking the lead was a narcissistic, bourgeois, conservative and egotistical type isn't a problem in itself, but I'd like to know why I received that impression.As I said above: if the style is indicative of Thomas Mann's writing, it results in this book being nothing more than out-dated tripe. However, were I to learn that the style served the character and was purposeful, I would consider it a wonderfully written work. Unfortunately I am inclined to sit with the former, as it doesn't appear to be quite so intentional.Personally I don't consider the themes to be all that interesting or disturbing. The fact that an old man falls in love with the image of a young boy seems to create some debate about sexual intentions, but I hardly think it was a sexual admiration. There's a lot of musing about the boy's perfection and comparisons with classical gods and romantic notions regarding the potential and beauty of the artistic muse. However, most of this content seemed self-gratifying and basically try-hard. It's one thing to write romantically; it's another to do it without appearing to be full of shit.Alternatively, the theme surrounding the old man himself was quite well executed. There's a lot of effort put into ensuring that the reader is well aware of just how lonely and solitary he is (often even referring to him as "the solitary"). Despite the effort, it doesn't come off as a whole lot more than simply trying to prove the point to the reader. I almost wanted to slap the author for reminding me so often about just how alone the poor sod was.I can appreciate why a lot of readers find this to be a master-work, but for me it was entirely lost. Like Dickens, I recognise and respect the book for what it accomplishes, but at the same time I never got the surge to read on and continued reading to the end with some hopeful determination that was never fulfilled.PS: The ratings I give books are based on my own enjoyment of the experience - I use the suggested style of rating that appears when you hover over the stars. Hence, while I realise a book like this may deserve some respect, I could not say that I "liked it", as a three star rating would suggest.

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