Zulfqar Tabish

What Is The Most Important Quality Of This Novel Which Make It Such a Epic Literary Work ?

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Mark Hebwood I was asking myself this same question the entire time I was reading it. I think this novel is best enjoyed as a reading experience in itself, just as a piece of music is enjoyed in itself. I do not believe this novel is about anything, it is certainly not a novel of ideas, as some critics have claimed. Thomas Mann himself advised contemporaries to read it like an orchestral symphony, to follow common themes, and just let the narrative play. And I think if you try this, this actually works - so my answer would be that Mann wrote a piece of literature that can be "listened to", and that's all it needs to be.
David Hambling It's not epic at all (just long!). In fact, it's a rather intimate book in terms of the location and how much of it occurs inside the protagonist's head, really more of a salon novel than an epic in its treatment of ideas and events.
Virtuella A profound understanding of the human condition, of our culture and its decline, of philosophy, religion, psychology; combined with the very best use of the German language.
Jonathan Iwanski Fascinatingly detailed and consistent characterizations.
Ma Maria The insightful juxtaposition of arguments.
Greg That if you take a group of random people and put them in a new setting, they resume the same roles as before. The snobs have esoteric arguments that are mostly nonsense, the horndogs get laid with whomever is at their dinner table, those with a great attitude about life continue that attitude as they just laugh and have a good time. The central character, Hans, is the kind of person always looking for meaning, and at the spectacularly unexpected and weird ending, he finds that perhaps there is no meaning in anything at all.
Nisus It's the biggest German novel (as far as I know), Germany's "War and Peace", and its main character is an embodiment of youth- spiritual youth, I mean.

It also has (Nietzsche) Settembrini: the sage every one would like to know in this life.
Bob Towner An appreciation of mortality.
Andras Cser I would say the following (in no particular order):
- humor (but you never know if he author is serious or not)
- discussion and contrasting of opposites
- deep discussions of time, illness, death, and life in general
- conservatism vs liberalism

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