I plan to wander through Musil's magnum opus at a leisurely pace. Any interested readers are welcome to join me every hundred pages along the way at intervals of a month or so. February 2 is the third session (through Vol. 1, Chapter 50).
From the publisher's description: "Robert Musil was born in Klagenfurt, Austria, in 1880. Trained in science and philosophy, he left a career in the military to turn to writing. The publication of his novel, Young Torless in 1906 brought him international recognition; to this day it remains a classic parable on the misuse of power. After serving in the First World War, Musil lived alternately in Vienna and Berlin, with much of his time being dedicated to the slow writing of his masterpiece, The Man Without Qualities. In 1938, when Hitler's rise to power threatened Musil's work with being banned in both Austria and Germany, he emigrated to Switzerland, where he and his wife lived until his death in 1942."
From an amazon.com review: "[I] have trouble believing such a novel (but is it a novel?), devoid of any plot whatsoever and yet so rich, was written by one man only . . . . Tackling such universal themes as love, death, money, religion, the passing of time, the soul versus reality, what thinking means, what deciding means, what loving means, what writing and reading mean, in short, everything that makes a human being what he is and a society what it is, and doing so in a language marked by elegance and irony, Musil has undoubtedly written one of the few universal masterpieces of western literature . . . . There is a life before and a life after Musil's Man without Qualities, and I much prefer the latter."
Serious fans of Musil prefer the original English translation by Eithne Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser to the more recent translation by Sophie Wilkins and Burton Pike. Unfortunately, the former is harder to purchase, though more likely to be on a library shelf.
We will meet at Pimai Restaurant at 12:30 p.m. Pimai is located in a small strip mall at the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Canyon Drive, across the street from the Gelson's Market, less than a mile from downtown Hollywood and only a few blocks from the 101 Freeway. There is plenty of parking on Canyon Drive within a block of the restaurant. Please resist the temptation to park in the Gelson's lot. You may be towed.