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5.0 von 5 Sternen A small masterpiece about the reality of illusion.
Those who know Thomas Mann for his weightier books will be surprised to see how light this short novel is.
Felix Krull is a "Con Man." This book recounts his early years, from early childhood, through his ingenious method of avoiding being drafted into the army, to his initial jobs. He avoids the army by appearing too eager to join, thus inducing...
Veröffentlicht am 30. April 2000 von smarmer

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2.0 von 5 Sternen 2 stars for anyone else, for Thomas Mann this is a 5
This was the first book I ever read by Thomas Mann, and I was proud and amazed that I'd gotten through the whole thing. In fact I still am. Then I attempted some of his other stuff and I found out that by comparison "Felix Krull" is a laugh riot. Actully, to a modern reader "Krull" is pretty tepid. Any post WWII book will be more lively. But if...
Am 23. März 2000 veröffentlicht


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4.0 von 5 Sternen One Part Flaw Two Parts Masterpiece, 30. Juli 2000
Von 
Captain Cook (Leeward to the Sandwich Islands) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years (Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
This book is like an ocean liner holed beneath the waterline at several points but with effective bulkheads. Although seriously flawed the leakage is contained and the ship stays afloat.
Perhaps the problem is the ship's construction was never completed. Thomas Mann was clacking away at the typewriter just before his death at the age of 80, and more surprising than the fact that the novel remained unfinished is the fact that the narrative voice is that of a smug young man, a charlatan who has decided to regale us with a glib account of his early career.
Because of the necessarily episodic nature of such a fly-by-night career, the story resolves itself into a series of loosely-connected episodes.This is definitely fortunate as some of the episodes are of incomparable brilliance while others are heavy going. In a story with more unity this would have the effect of sinking the whole ship, but compartmentalized as they are, we are able to enjoy Mann's purple passages without too much reference to the episodes that don't work.
The episodes where Felix evades military service and the whole section where he recounts his Parisian days as elevator boy, jewel thief, dishwasher, and popular waiter at a top hotel, were particularly effective, showing Mann's deft touch for entwining character, psychology, and manners.
After these bright spots, most readers will probably feel the last third of the novel, mainly set in Lisbon, is wasted. Here we have a lot of cosmic gobbledygook from Professor Kuckuck and the tedious courtship of the Professor's daughter, Zouzou, who never advances beyond an abstraction of a surly, spoilt young lady. There is still the occasional speck of gold to be panned here in these muddy lower reaches, but the river has by now lost most of its sparkle.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A small masterpiece about the reality of illusion., 30. April 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years (Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
Those who know Thomas Mann for his weightier books will be surprised to see how light this short novel is.
Felix Krull is a "Con Man." This book recounts his early years, from early childhood, through his ingenious method of avoiding being drafted into the army, to his initial jobs. He avoids the army by appearing too eager to join, thus inducing suspicion regarding his mental stability. He works his way up by recognizing that having a good appearance and a willing attitude more than compensates for lack of experience or ability. Being a confidence man requires supreme self-confidence and Felix has that in abundance.
For me the pivotal scene is when Felix is taken to the theater by his father to see a play in which one of the father's old school chums is starring. Felix is captivated by the magnetic attraction between audience and star. This is made even greater by the back stage visit he and his father make after the show. The star turns out to be much shorter than he appeared to be, with reddish hair instead of black, and rough skin instead of the smooth skin he appeared to have. His manner is coarse, not like the refined character he portrayed. Topping it off, he is in need of continuous reassurance that he did a good job, whereas the character he played was supremely confident and poised. This is the key to Felix's realization that for most of the world illusion is reality, and that the illusionist needs the audience just as the audience needs the illusionist.
Whether Mann had a sequel planned is uncertain. We do leave Felix as a young man, wondering what his further adventures and potential growth might have been.
As it is, this is a delightful story with a profound subtext. Are there any people like Felix around today?
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Clever and Subtle Masterpiece, 24. März 2000
Von 
mholesh (Flushing, NY United States) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years (Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
The Confessions of Felix Krull, published in the year of Thomas Mann's death, 1955,is a remarkable work of humor and satire. It is hard to believe that it was written by a man in his late 70's. The book had its origins in a fragment published by Mann long before, in 1909, even before Death in Venice, probably his most well known work, at least these days. Perhaps this accounts for the youthful humor mixed with a wisdom and tolerance that a man of the world like Mann attained after a long, eventful and thoughtful life.
Felix Krull is a charmer from the earliest age, a knowing manipulator of his surroundings and even his own body, able to induce fevers by self-will to avoid the boredom of school and bemuse his family doctor into acquiescence. Blessed by astonishing beauty that affects all that come into contact with him and fuels an arrogance and self-confidence that probably would not be tolerated in someone of lesser grace, he is able to insinuate himself up the social ladder into the most rarefied social circles of aristocratic Europe. Through his own wit and the vanities and susceptibilities of his victims, he brazens his way through the most delicate situations.
While it is not necessary to have a familiarity with Mann's life and other works to enjoy this book, such knowledge will add greatly to the fun. There are many autobiographical references and self-caricatures dispersed amongst the characters who knowingly or unknowingly are seduced by the irrepressible Felix and some of the observations and feelings that Felix describes are most definitely those that Mann himself strongly felt.
Recurring motifs throughout Mann's works find expression here. Most striking is the identification of Felix with the Greek god Hermes, here in his aspect of god of thieves. Look back to Death in Venice and see how Mann uses the god Hermes in reference to Tadzio, especially at the end when Aschenbach lies dying and Tadzio as Hermes, the messenger of death, beckons in the waves. For who is Felix but a more grown, more self-aware Tadzio? But instead of death, Felix brings smiles. After all, as he is quick to point out "Felix" means "happy."
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2.0 von 5 Sternen 2 stars for anyone else, for Thomas Mann this is a 5, 23. März 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years (Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
This was the first book I ever read by Thomas Mann, and I was proud and amazed that I'd gotten through the whole thing. In fact I still am. Then I attempted some of his other stuff and I found out that by comparison "Felix Krull" is a laugh riot. Actully, to a modern reader "Krull" is pretty tepid. Any post WWII book will be more lively. But if you want to say you've read one of Mann's novels as a badge of honor, this one is least painful.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Felix Krull, 13. Januar 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years (Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
The best way to escape one's own lot in life is to re-invent one's life as a far more interesting character, and thus does Felix Krull embark on his adult life. Mann makes us see Felix's world in all it's fine detail, only the reader has the advantage of knowing how Felix's mind ticks, in a way that those who met him could never have done. Beware of Mann's excruciating attention to descriptive detail, but if you can weather this, Felix's wonderful and sordid life really does come alive...
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A masterpiece of urbanity and wit., 3. Juni 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years (Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
Felix is a gentleman of the highest order; one who possesses a philosopher's intellect and a romantic's instinct. In his short story and here in this novel, Mann has created a character capable of transcending the boundaries that ensnare the average human being. Felix sets a thought provoking precedent through his habit of substituting taste and ideals for the less rewarding precepts of Christian morality. This book is a must for anyone interested in reading musings ranging from the nature of existence to the nature of love by one of literature's finest lotharios.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A 19th Century "Fletch"., 10. August 1997
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years (Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
Felix Krull's whole life is a lie, but a wonderfully told one. Every word out of the main character's mouth is a falsehood, told with the charm of an exquisite con man. I was fortunate to read this Mann book first because it is easily his best
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An Irresistible Adventure, 3. Mai 1997
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years (Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
This was the last book written by Thomas Mann and it's certainly a masterpiece of German literature. The antithesis of a hero, the impostor Felix Krull has no respect for any moral law. Not only was he a rebel since his youth, but also a cynical and disguised person.His confessions are made up of the finest humour, irony and sarcasm ever written and the events are so surprising that it's impossible to predict what he will be up to next. Although the book remained unfinished, the plot provides us with great amusement and, at the same time, it offers an interesting portrait of the European bourgeoisie at the turn of this century
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