cornerofmadness (cornerofmadness) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

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books 117-118

Demian by Hermann Hesse

This was the last novel for my vampire class though I did fail to see the connection. Cultural reference here, this was written in the nineteen teens (and into English in the 20’s) during a time of turmoil in Hesse’s Germany. This won a nobel prize and was said to have struck a chord with the men of that time. I was honestly underwhelmed but I’m reading it nearly 100 years after it was written (wow, that’s stunning). It’s not nearly as shocking now.

Sinclair is a young man of modest means, growing up like many children of the day, religious in other words. He is conned by the school bully into stealing apples and is so overwhelmed by guilt over this act, and so fearful of being turned in by the bully that his life becomes hellish. The bully gets on him at school and at home he’s distancing from his parents. When the bully wants to meet Sinclair’s sister, he actually contemplates suicide and then a new kid, slightly older, shows up, Demian. He takes care of the bully and from this moment on his life and Sinclair’s keep intersecting.

In confirmation classes, Demian brings up the idea that gives Cain and Abel’s story a new spin. Sinclair begins to doubt some of his religious upbringing. As he ages and goes to college, he has spells of drinking and partying, then losing himself in the beauty of an unattainable woman and finally finding a mentor in the form of a young organist and his rather pagan ways (even though he had wanted to be a priest,the organist that is). All through this Demian is either there expanding Sinclair’s consciousness or there in a dream state which is where we see him as Sinclair goes after the woman and the organist.

Finally, Demian and Sinclair move things to a different level and Sinclair meets Demian’s mother, Eva. I think this is where the vampire thing comes in. Eva is all about the mark on the forehead (harking back to the mark of Cain) and about visions (Eva and Demian strike me more as ‘demons’ than vampires really) and as Sinclair had reached this new level of consciousness war breaks out and the novel ends. There is also strong threads of latent homosexuality between Sinclair and well every man he meets in this (though he does want both his Beatrice and Eva for that matter). I can’t say I liked this but I’m not much on mainstream fiction and that certainly colored my perception of this. You probably can’t say a Nobel prize winner is a bad book. It just wasn’t for me but again I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, the world had already gone thru the spiritual awakening in the 60’s, so some of Sinclair’s spiritual awakening is rather ho-hum so what for me and it wouldn’t have been the case when this was first pubished.

Pandora Hearts 2 by Jun Mochizuki

Oz Vessalius is back from the Abyss bringing the Black Rabbit, Alice, with him as a contractor. Alice is looking for her memories and Oz is trying to find out why he was cast into the abyss in the first place, being a young boy and not sure what his ‘sin’ was. He finds himself being helped by an organization, Pandora, but he’s unsure of their agenda. Break, the defacto leader, is odd and deceptive and Sharon isn’t much better but Oz finds himself trusting Raven, the dark young man that reminds Oz of Gil (and I made an error on my review of #1, either it was a mistranslation or I didn’t see where the word balloons were going last time but I was wondering why a girl was named Gil. Gil is a guy…)

Oz learns that he bears an incuse on his chest like all illegal contractors, a clock and it’s ticking away his life. He has only a limited time to complete his contract before he’s sucked back into the abyss or dies. As they work out why Oz was taken and fight more monsters and their enemy, an organization trying to control the Abyss, is in their way.

Big reveals pop up in this. Oz, for one bounces from innocent 13 year old to something darker and he might be the key to the whole Abyss. Raven, on the other hand reminds Oz of Gil for very good reasons. What seemed liked a day to Oz while he was in the abyss, an entire decade has passed.

This is one odd manga. I like it but I’m not sure where it’s going. I do know Raven is hot and that’s good (since everyone else looks like they’re 10…)

Tags: classic, manga

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