Hermann Hesse


The Prodigy


I canít handle all this detached, measured narrative without some insight to make it worthwhile. There is very little dialogue, no humour, hardly any action Ė just reams of detached description of an academically gifted childís seemingly unfortunate ambition (somewhat fuelled by misguided adults) driving him away from the joys of nature, work and friendship. Apart from, perhaps, the evangelical shoemaker thereís no-one here to really enjoy being with, particularly as the condescendingly mature narrator always keeps us removed from them.


The kid never really gains my great sympathy, although the story is clearly meant to be tragic. The ending bluntly nails this home with much the same shortcut predictability of a Ďand then I woke upí finish.


March 2003