The Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann, John E. Woods

I started the next chapter of this after a break of a month and of course it doesn't feel like I haven't read it for a month. This is one of those books that somehow manages to embody what it is about so that as you read it you also experience it. And what it is about is the malleability of time whilst within a magic space - in the case of Hans Castorp that magic space is the Berghof sanatorium but for the reader that magic space is the novel itself.


Reading this book, which will probably take me all year, feels as if it will be as significant as that year (exactly 20 years ago) that I read and can only recall reading the Lord of the Rings. I can feel my way of thinking bending and reforming as I read. With the Lord of the Rings it was my sense of movement through landscape, and the way in which walking could be a form of thought connecting the mind to the scenic. Since reading it I have done my best thinking whilst walking; I have been myself most of all whilst moving, with the understanding that it is not the nature of our surroundings that makes us free within them but our relationship and rhythm within them. For a book about the primacy of nature it made me love the city I was  bound within.


The Magic Mountain has not finished with me yet. I do not know what I will be after I have read it, but its action is beautiful to behold. There is an irony that, for a book about the treachery of time that it is only with time that I will be able to tell of its results.