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With Gertrude, Herman Hesse continues his lifelong exploration of the irreconcilable elements of human existence. In this fictional memoir, the renowned composer Kuhn recounts his tangled relationships with two artists--his friend Heinrich Muoth, a brooding, self-destructive opera singer, and the gentle, self-assured Gertrude Imthor. Kuhn is drawn to Gertrude upon their first meeting, but Gertrude falls in love with Heinrich, to whom she is introduced when Kuhn auditions them for the leads in his new opera. Hopelessly ill-matched, Gertrude and Heinrich have a disastrous marriage that leaves them both ruined. Yet this tragic affair also becomes the inspiration for Kuhn's opera, the most important success of his artistic life.

Published: Macmillan Publishers on
ISBN: 9781466835078
List price: $7.99
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Availability for Gertrude: A Novel
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This early minor novel by Hesse is almost entirely predictable from the start. That's not to say it's a bad novel though. It is written in a wonderfully restrained style that makes it a little joy to read. The most disappointing thing about this novella is that when the predictable ending comes about it does so with more of a whimper than a bang. I was hoping for something more explosive in the end but perhaps that would be out of character with the rest of the book that is so very reined in. The side characters (basically all those apart from the narrator) could have been developed a lot more - that would really have helped to elevate this book to the next level and it's a shame, for once, that this isn't longer.As it is Gertrude is a very nice short read, a great example of style, but it's that and not the story or characters that will remain with you afterwards.more
A melancholy tale of flawed love and existential angst. The pace is gentle, the characters are wonderful, and the philosophical musings lead absolutely nowhere. It reads like the work of a master storyteller who'd gotten to the end of a book before realising he hadn't had much to say.more
Hesse wrote wonderful short books, like this and Siddhartha. I really enjoyed Gertrude, a book that examines the destructive nature of love, and of how we can easily hurt those around us with our thoughtlessness. This story could so easily have been preachy, but in Hesse's talented hands it is a minor classic.more
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Reviews

This early minor novel by Hesse is almost entirely predictable from the start. That's not to say it's a bad novel though. It is written in a wonderfully restrained style that makes it a little joy to read. The most disappointing thing about this novella is that when the predictable ending comes about it does so with more of a whimper than a bang. I was hoping for something more explosive in the end but perhaps that would be out of character with the rest of the book that is so very reined in. The side characters (basically all those apart from the narrator) could have been developed a lot more - that would really have helped to elevate this book to the next level and it's a shame, for once, that this isn't longer.As it is Gertrude is a very nice short read, a great example of style, but it's that and not the story or characters that will remain with you afterwards.more
A melancholy tale of flawed love and existential angst. The pace is gentle, the characters are wonderful, and the philosophical musings lead absolutely nowhere. It reads like the work of a master storyteller who'd gotten to the end of a book before realising he hadn't had much to say.more
Hesse wrote wonderful short books, like this and Siddhartha. I really enjoyed Gertrude, a book that examines the destructive nature of love, and of how we can easily hurt those around us with our thoughtlessness. This story could so easily have been preachy, but in Hesse's talented hands it is a minor classic.more
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