That was an unexpectedly long and involved undertaking. I blew through Buddenbrooks in a few days, so I assumed that although MM is long, it’d be a similarly easy read. However, it is not. It simply can’t be read at that speed, because not as much happens in it. You can’t just get caught in the plot and speed along. It’s all about interplay of ideas and very tiny movements in life up there.
Still, it was worth the 2+ weeks that I spent on it. I can’t say that it’s the book I’ve most enjoyed reading, but it’s definitely a book that has taught me things which no other book has. I’ve never before read a book (by someone I respect) that has made a solid, sustained, and intellectually serious case for a mystical approach to life. Mann’s brilliance is that when he argues ideas he uses spokespeople who are both brilliant and ridiculous. You can discard their actual words and arguments, but the underlying beauty and harmony of their worldview shines through. The point is not the things they say, but the things you feel when they say them