Updated: Oct 8, 2020
by Thomas Mann
To begin with, I found this rather slow-paced and gentle for Mann, it clearly showed that it was his first novel and there was none of the intense, rich imagery, tone and observation that later Mann novels and stories contains. Once I reconciled myself to not really too much happening the first half of the book, it was a nice read - it would certainly be a good holiday book, there are some lovely details and characterisations. However, for me, this all changed approximately two-thirds of the way through. I don't know, but it felt as if he came back to writing after a break, it was full-on Mann and brilliant. The story picked up the pace, there is was intrigue and interest and the writing style and language was certainly moved up into fifth gear and was the Thomas Mann of Death in Venice, etc., for this reason, I could not put the book down towards the end and is why I give four stars. Definitely a worthwhile read if only for the brilliance of the later chapters but a little slow in the beginning.