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The Magic Mountain

Written by: Thomas Mann
Narrated by: David Rintoul
Length: 37 hrs and 27 mins

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Publisher's Summary

It was The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg) that confirmed Thomas Mann as a Nobel prizewinner for literature and rightly so, for it is undoubtedly one of the great novels of the 20th century. 

Its unusual story - it opens with a young man visiting a friend in a tuberculosis sanatorium in the Swiss Alps - was originally started by Mann in 1912 but was not completed until 1924. Then, it was instantly recognised as a masterpiece and led to Mann’s Nobel Prize in 1929. 

Hans Castorp is, on the face of it, an ordinary man in his early 20s, on course to start a career in ship engineering in his home town of Hamburg, when he decides to travel to the Berghof Santatorium in Davos. The year is 1912, and an oblivious world is on the brink of war. Castorp’s friend Joachim Ziemssen is taking the cure, and a three-week visit seems a perfect break before work begins. But when Castorp arrives he is surprised to find an established community of patients, some of whom have been there for years, and little by little, he gets drawn into the closeted life and the individual personalities of the residents. 

Among them are Hofrat Behrens, the principal doctor, the curiously attractive Clavdia Chauchat and two intellectuals: Ludovico Settembrini and Leo Naphta with their strongly contrasted personalities and differing political, ethical, artistic and spiritual ideals. Hans Castorp’s stay is extended, once, twice and still further, as he appears to develop symptoms which suggest that his health, once so robust, would benefit from the treatments and the mountain air. 

As time passes, it becomes clear that the young man, with a particular interest in shipbuilding and not much else, finds his outlook and knowledge broadened by his mountain companions, his intellect stretched and his emotional experience deepened and enriched. Hans Castorp is changing, day by day, month by month, year by year, sometimes imperceptibly, sometimes with a sudden advance, as he encounters the varied range of sparkling characters, their comedies and tragedies, their aspirations and their defeats. 

The Magic Mountain is a classic bildungsroman, an educational journey of growth - a genre that began with an earlier novel in the German tradition: Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship. It is presented here in the acclaimed modern translation by John E. Woods and is told by David Rintoul with his particular understanding for Thomas Mann as displayed in his widely praised Ukemi recording of Buddenbrooks.

©1996 Knopf Translation (P)2020 Ukemi Productions Ltd

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  • L. Kerr
  • 2020-06-01

worth the wait

I'm a classic literature buff. I waited a long time for this audiobook. It was worth the wait. David Rintoul does a fabulous job performing what could have been a long, tedious, and difficult novel. He captures the subtle wit and irony that Mann had intended---not an easy feat. Each character is so distinctive you never have to wonder who is speaking. Can't say enough good things.

28 people found this helpful

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  • Edward A. Dickey
  • 2020-06-04

At Last

I have waited for years for this classic of world literature to be available as an audio book. And this version was well worth waiting for. The narrator is fully engaged with the material and brings the different characters to life. Most of all, he brings out the humor in Thomas Mann's masterpiece. I have read the book twice before, but only now appreciate how funny parts of it can be.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Jonathan Imsande
  • 2020-06-18

Great Narration and Translation

I have been waiting for this book to come out as an audio book for so long. I have read this book several times. I remember when a new translation came out for Magic Mountain and Doctor Faustus, It was like a breath of fresh air when I re read them. Now it is like the book is coming to life for me again. This is a new translation for me and the narration is great. The narrator catches the different personalities and tempo of each character. Thank you.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Logan1983
  • 2020-06-28

Magical story... and magical narration

The Magic Mountain is a captivating, mysterious and often extremely funny story about a young man, Hans Castorp. It follows his intellectual and emotional development as he spends 7 years in a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps, touching on numerous, profound topics: illness, dreams, time, memory, Western civilization and the advent of World War I, David Rintoul brings to life with enormous richness the complex texture and many layers of the story. A truly masterful performance. I enjoyed every second of it!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Murasaki
  • 2020-06-22

Masterpiece

This is a Great Book at the level of Tolstoy or Joyce. The brilliant reader is more than up to the challenge. Having listened once I am about to begin again. One never reads a great book twice

7 people found this helpful

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  • JK
  • 2020-07-05

Amazing

Do not miss this book. Without the expert narrator it would have been difficult to stick to parts of this long narrative. Thank you, JK

5 people found this helpful

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  • Joel A. Griska
  • 2020-07-01

Best book ever

This has been one of the best books I ever read- in every way! I will come back to it again and again!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Bookoholics Anon
  • 2020-07-16

excellent narration of a mammoth book

this is one of my favorite novels but it is a bear to get through. The arguments between Settembrini and Naphta are a hard slog for the reader but make a bit more sense when read out loud, and you can picture the two adversaries standing out in the Davosplatz arguing to impress their young audience. The narrator does a really excellent job. For people who have trouble getting through this enormous work, the audiobook listen to in segments can make it far more accessible. This the newer John Woods translation which is excellent and updates some of the dated Britishism's of the earlier Lowe- Porter version, good as it was .

2 people found this helpful

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  • James
  • 2020-07-16

A true masterpiece

Spellbinding and disturbing. Profoundly moving.
Great characters and characterization of pre WWW1 life. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful