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America's Magic Mountain

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3.08  ·  Rating details ·  12 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Filled with many compelling, outrageous, and comic voices, White's novel is disturbing, charming, and biting. Curtis White's new novel begins with Mann's "unassuming young man," Hans Castorp, visiting his cousin at a health retreat. In this book, though, the retreat is a spa for recovering alcoholics, totally unlike all other rehab centres. Rather than encouraging their pa ...more
Paperback, 231 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 2004)
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MJ Nicholls
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I haven’t read Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, so I can’t comment on how accurate an ‘update’ this novel is. That’s quite frustrating as it means I can’t comment on structure or plot, since each might mirror the Mann novel, therefore armouring itself against criticism. Clever that.

This novel is a hodgepodge of elements. It’s sort of the The Shining meets Infinite Jest, if one wanted to do that modern comparison thing so beloved among reviewers. (And one does, and one did). Hans visits his cous
...more
Mark Valentine
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Social satire for the same bookshelf as Vonnegut, Nabokov and Alexie, I found White's cruise along the spiral ("circling the drain" we call it in 12-step programs) of a treatment center for alcoholics eye-opening, funny, and tragic.

Eye-opening because who knew? the recesses of American culture require full and extreme exploitation of the individual's will, ambitions, and identity for its sustenance; that as dedicated consumers, we Americans must take a loyalty oath to consume as much of what we
...more
Brendan
Jun 17, 2007 rated it liked it
You’d think that Curtis White, in his satirical novel, America’s Magic Mountain, would be most interested in channeling Germany’s grand old Mann of modernism. After all, his, too, is the story of the “unassuming” young Hans Castorp, who intends just a short visit to his ailing cousin in a sanitarium but ends up staying for several years. During those years, he encounters the long-winded avatars of Decaying Bourgeois Society, debates with them the meaning of life, and becomes, in a manner of spea ...more
Matt
Oct 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
I think this might be the first book of fiction I've finished since school started, after a series of books that were just too boring to bother reading. None of them will turn up here, but there were a handful that I tried and dropped, tried and dropped.

I should have gone to White sooner, but I hesitated because I felt like I didn't really enjoy _Requiem_ as much as I appreciated it as a well constructed work that nonetheless didn't speak to me. This, though, well, I'm not sure it spoke to me,
...more
Sam
Dec 08, 2008 rated it liked it
This started out interesting enough, but it soon got slow and boring. I lost all interest toward the end of the book, and couldn't even tell you what it was about really. The plus side is that I designed the cover as well as the interior copy layout (also, it was reviewed in Playboy the month of its publication, so a picture of my book design graces the book review that month).
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