Sunday, September 20, 2009

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Siddhartha is the story of a man trying to find enlightenment. You follow him over his many stages in life. Today for the first time I am going to use a plot description from an outside source because I cannot for the life of me figure out how to summarize this book in language people will understand.

Born into wealth and privilege, Siddhartha renounces his place among India’s nobility to wander the countryside in search ofmeaning. He learns suffering and self-denial among a group of ascetics before meeting the Buddha and coming to realize that true peace cannot be taught: It must be experienced. Changing his path yet again, Siddhartha reenters human society and earns a great fortune. Yet over time this life leaves Siddhartha restless and empty. He achieves enlightenment only when he stops searching and surrenders to the oneness of all. ~

I disliked this book. It was well written, but it moved so slowly for a book where one chapter (about 15 pages) is three years or more. The characters annoyed me, though they had depth. Technically there is very little wrong in this book, but it was one of the worst books I've ever read. I was forced to read the book for English class, so I couldn't put it down and walk away either. The way the characters talked, though not hard to follow, sounded so fake I almost laughed. Granted it is translated from its original German, but still it must also sound fake in German. I also am one of those who doubts that one can achieve Nirvana, so the entire plot of the book is lost on me. Avoid this book unless you like spiritual quests.