Siddhartha is an allegorical novel by Hermann Hesse which deals with the spiritual journey of an Indian boy called Siddhartha during the time of the Buddha. The book was written in German, in a simple, yet powerful and lyrical style. It was first published in 1922, after Hesse had spent some time in India in the 1910s.
The story revolves around a young man who leaves his home and family on a quest for the Truth. Embarking on a journey that takes him from the austerities of renunciation to the profligacy of wealth. That leads him through the range of human experiences from hunger and want, to passion, pleasure, pain, greed, yearning, boredom, love, despair and hope. A journey that leads finally to the river, where he gains peace and eventually wisdom. This is the story of Siddhartha as told by Nobel Laureate Hermann Hesse in his most influential work.
Hermann Hesse (b. 1877) was a German-born Swiss poet and author, best known for writing the novels 'Steppenwolf', 'Siddhartha', and 'The Glass Bead Game'. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946. His themes focus on man's struggle to break away from the rigid structures of civilization and follow his essential and inner spirit. For this, Hesse became a literary cult figure.
Actor Ansdell guides listeners in his firm and gentle voice through Hesse's lyrical prose depicting the self-discovery journey of his protagonist, Siddhartha. Ansdell's pacing and English accent give his reading for the audiobook an air of philosopher's wisdom. Ansdell is especially good at pauses and inflections that express Siddhartha's moods of exaltation and utter despair at various points in his life as a young Brahman, an ascetic, a lover, businessman, and then as a father and elderly recluse who sits by the river and finally experiences the peace and tranquility he has always sought. Published in German in 1922 and in English in 1951, the revival of Hesse's novel in this era of widespread interest in Eastern religions offers Ansdell a vehicle for his diverse narrative talents.