A Zen moment with Herman Hesse

A friend recommended Herman Hesse’s book Demian to me. I finished this book just now, sitting in my garden in the sun and spring breeze, accompanied only by birdsong and the distant hum and buzz of traffic that seems to me to be endlessly heading somewhere but never, ever quite arriving. Perhaps they would cease to exist if they ever arrived and so they merely keep crawling like metal snails upon their silvered roads and in hollow machines, empty like the lost souls they (as much as we all) might truly be in eternity.

I highly recommend this book. It was quite a reflective, beautiful, philosophical journey and like all great art and literary adventures leaves one at the destination with a sense of gratitude and joy but also some sense of hollow longing and sorrow.

Some of us feel these things with great passion and emotion. I have not read fiction for years and this book was powerful, wonderful. The bond between Emile and Max was deep, beyond friendship. It is these living wonders of interpersonal connection which provide meaning in an otherwise short and chaotic life.

2 replies on “A Zen moment with Herman Hesse”

Hi. I must say that none of The Catcher in the Rye stays with me in memory although – curiously – its cultural presence is more weighty to me than its content (which might itself say something). This book (Demian) was very philosophical, reflective with poetic turns of phrase which bordered on Herman Melville-esque without the Romanticist histrionics. Really, a great book. Worth reading. I read it over a couple of days in my spare time.


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