THE GLASS BEAD GAME
I guess there is a point, just as you wave goodbye to your youth, at which Hermann Hesse’s ability to capture a mood and convey a sense (usually of vaguely indefinable loss) catches you unawares and knocks you flat. It did for me, anyway. Re-reading it years, and then many more years, later, it is still a good story, elegantly told. But by then, something had been lost, though whether in the book or in the reader is, perhaps, harder to say.
HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE
Neither before nor since did I read an account of anything so obviously written by a master of his discipline: it gave the impression of being conveyed across the landscape of 700 years in a very superior hovercraft. I would not say ‘effortlessly conveyed’, because it was not an easy read; nod over a sentence, and you would need to fall back for a page or more to be able to pick it up again. And it made it as clear as anything was ever made to me that I would never be a legal historian. But the content was fascinating; the prose style as close to perfect as anything ever written by anyone about anything.