Consul Buddenbrooks and his family of five, plus various servants live the good life in a great house. The book follows the children from early age to death.
I started this book about two months ago, and then with 200 pages to go, I accidentally left it on a plane. I found a cheap copy and started reading it again a week ago.
It took me a long time to get into the story, and I usually could only read a couple of pages before my mind started to wander. Too many petty details. And too many names. It got a lot harder when I picked it up again, I had lost all interest in the family and the only thing that kept me going was the thought that when I finished it, I could cross it off a couple of my lists. It is bad when you are in need of some external motivation to finish a book.
So what is wrong with Buddenbrooks? There is not enough drama. My favourite part of the novel was the failing marriages of Tony, but they never got anywhere. And the other family members never got my full attention. A lot of the events explained in great detail would make great short-stories, like Hanno’s school day at the age of 15. Why put something so irrelevant so close to the end?
And now I dread picking up the other classics and discover that they are the same.
(I have read many great reviews of this book, so I guess it’s just me.)
ps. This is also one of the ugliest book covers I have seen.