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3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  88 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, 2008

“Delightful . . . gently, deceptively provocative.”—The Observer

“Full of depth and allusion . . . wonderfully absurd humour.”—The Independent on Sunday

Inspired by Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, Castorp recounts Hans Castorp’s student years in Gdansk, Poland. Pawel Huelle imagines what happened when Castorp encou
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Serpent's Tail (first published 2004)
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La sombra del viento by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonLa elegancia del erizo by Muriel Barbery1Q84 by Haruki MurakamiPaís de sombras by Peter Matthiessen
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Community Reviews

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Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
I have been told, by a friend on Facebook (and some of her friends), that Polish writing is not very good because Polish does not express itself well in the written form. English, on the other hand (so they claim), is wonderfully adapted for the written form - so English books are far superior. I can't argue with them because I can't read Polish (sadly I'm the equivalent of an illiterate peasant which befits my roots). Can it be that my appreciation of Polish literature has its roots in the fact ...more
I'm always on the look out for the next Who Was David Weiser?, but thus far I haven't found another Huelle book that quite lives up to my expectations.

Castorp is meant to be a prequel to Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. Hans Castorp is a student in Gdansk at the time of this book, before his adventures of Mann's novel. As I haven't read Mann's book, I'm not sure what Huelle's lends to it. However, I saw a review that calls Castorp a work of "literary fan fiction" which I like, and which about s
This is a prequel to The Magic Mountain, but a Czech writer who imagines the life of Hans Castorp before he took the train up the Zauberberg. He successfully mimics the tone and pace of Mann's own prose, and manages to give a thought provoking look at the development of Castorp's character in the Polish (then German) city of Gdansk/Danzig where he attends University. The landmarks of the area in that distant time are brought startlingly to life, along with an assortment of memorable characters a ...more
I love the way Huelle perfectly captures the language and setting of a lot of early modern fiction. You could have passed this book off as another Mann (the story is based on a minor character from The Magic Mountain.) A critic's review on the jacket was good enough to repeat, the scenes of the book are all pretty playful and silly, but where you can see Huelle is making some allusions to post-Magic Mountain Euro/Polish history it's a lot more serious.
So much was lost during WWI. This is a reflection on a culture, a city, a man. See more at International Reads' blog about Poland.
Apr 29, 2008 Lou rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
For what's basically literary fan fiction, the author gets the tone of the magic mountain down, and it's entertaining, but not much more than that.
Jaime Lara
Apr 13, 2012 Jaime Lara marked it as to-read
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Paweł Huelle (b. 10 September 1957 in Gdańsk, Poland) is a Polish prose writer.

Huelle studied philology at Gdańsk University, and later became a journalist. He worked for a time for the press service of Solidarność (Solidarity). He has also taught literature, philosophy, and history. He was director of the Polish Television in his home town from 1994 to 1999.

His literary debut came in 1987 with We
More about Paweł Huelle...
Who Was David Weiser? Mercedes-Benz Śpiewaj ogrody Cold Sea Stories The Last Supper

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