Sweet reading ... if you can persist with this masterpiece right through to completion, you're in for a real treat. One of my favourite books of all time, this one translated by John Woods is new and has been critically acclaimed as being closer to the essence of Mann's German prose than the original English translation that came out while the author was still living. Taking place in a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps, young Hans Castorp arrives for a short visit and ends up staying for seven years.

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