Buddenbrooks

By Thomas Mann, John Edwards (translator),

Book cover of Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family

Book description

Discover Mann's Nobel Prizewinning semi-autobiographical and sweeping family epic.

The Buddenbrook clan is everything you'd expect of a nineteenth-century German merchant family - wealthy, esteemed, established. Four generations later, a tide of twentieth-century modernism has gradually disintegrated the bourgeois values on which the Buddenbrooks built their success.

In this, Mann's…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Buddenbrooks as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I wanted to include in my list a book of fiction, and I quickly realized that there were no better alternatives than Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks.

First published in 1901, the book is an absolute classic of world literature–and it is also the finest example of a fictional history of a wealthy family dynasty, from its rise in the early nineteenth century to its final decline.

A very insightful take on the issues of wealth, inheritance, and the related family dynamics. Also, a great case study of the ultimate impossibility of buying happiness with money.

A good test of whether I really love a book or just like it is whether I feel a certain grief upon finishing it, whether I miss the company of the characters and the plot. Reading Buddenbrooks for the second time, I found myself feeling depressed at the prospect of finishing the book with 200 pages left to read.

The story of a family, of triumphs and losses, over several generations, quickly becomes part of the reader’s own life story. 

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