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...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Happy 130th Birthday, Thomas Mann

If you were to ask me, "So, pretty lady, who is your favourite author of all time? By the way, lovely red Versace skirt, is that from Loehmann's?", I'd say without doubt,

Thomas Mann

Born 6 June 1875, in Lübeck, he was the son of a well-to-do German businessman and a sultry Brazilian lady, from whom he inherited his flights of fanciful reverie and guilty bourgeois conscience.

Were he alive today, still no doubt in his Pacific Palisades, California home where he moved in exile from Hitler's Germany, he would be the grand old age of 130 on Monday.

It's not easy to choose one predilect author, and obviously, even a little trite to do so, but I have no doubt that my writing style, mannerisms and content came alive after having read him as a child.

I still have the small paperback I bought in a rancid London bookstore, at the fateful age of 10, one of the very first books I ever bought with my saved pocket-money.

I have many books in my collection, many loved and well-thumbed books at that, but few which transport me back instantly to my childhood the moment I open it, as this stained paperback does.

If you wish to know which is my favourite work of his, I can point you in the direction of:

Wälsungenblut / The Blood of the Walsungs

(Not to be confused with Ottó Orbán's recent book of the same name)

For those of you who love opera who may be reading this blogpost, you cannot know what experiences await you until you read this novella. You literally will be shocked into the submission of recognition.

Thomas Mann is definitely an acquired taste, and his topics trouble more than one soul, but once you've peeled away what you perceive, and give yourself to what you read, you will never be the same again.


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