Fiction: The Man Without Qualities, Volume I, by Robert Musil

Tthis was our August challenge book. And we did not enjoy it.
The reason it made our list was Dad had bought it years ago and always meant to read it, particularly after the Wilkins/Pike translation came out and it was lauded everywhere as “the third member of the trinity in 20th-century literature, complementing Ulysses and Remembrance of Things Past” (Wall Street Journal).
In the beginning, I found it sardonic and was open to it. As it went on, it dragged and felt very pedantic and, as I put it, “kinda prissy.” Dad’s more adult reaction was “It’s very arch.”
We can sort of understand the reaction, originally. A big book trying to touch on a million different European themes right as the War is sneaking up on everyone…
But to compare it to Joyce? or Proust? No. Not in the same league. Not experimental, not groundbreaking, not even truly entertaining. And not worth our time to read Volume II so we’ve scratched that from our plan.

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