Allie & Death in Venice

Allie (29), social worker, from Vienna recommends „Death in Venice“ by Thomas Mann.

1. What is the book about?
Death in Venice is about a German writer/artist who travels to Venice from his home in Munich, where he develops an infatuation with a teenage Polish boy. While vacationing near the sea, he contemplates beauty and love.

2. Why do you recommend the book?
I like that the love portrayed in this book is a bit unconventional for the time period it takes place in. I do not necessarily see it as homoerotic, but more as an artist falling in love with the beauty of another human being and correspondingly dealing with the emotions and feelings.

3. You read the last sentence and finish the book. What stays?
It would be interesting to me to know how much this story relates to Thomas Mann’s real life. The character in the book sounds so similar to the writer based on what I know about him.

4. What is your favorite passage?
„Nothing is more bizarre, more ticklish, than a relationship between two people who know each other only with their eyes- who encounter, observe each other daily, even hourly, never greeting, never speaking, constrained by convention or by caprice to keep acting the indifferent strangers. They experience discomfort and overwrought curiousity, the hysteria of an unsatisfied, unnaturally stifled need to recognize and to exchange, and they especially feel something like a tense mutual esteem.“

Thomas Mann. Death in Venice. 1912