The Buddenbrook clan is everything you’d expect of a nineteenth-century German merchant family – wealthy, esteemed, established. Four generations later, a tide of twentieth-century modernism has gradually disintegrated the bourgeois values on which the Buddenbrooks built their success. In this, Mann’s first novel, his astounding, semi-autobiographical family epic, he portrays the transition of genteel Germanic stability to a very modern uncertainty.
Perhaps the first great novel of the 20th century
A simple but magnificent proof of genius. A first novel by a 25-year-old with absolute command of his craft, uncanny knowledge of his world, its past and present, and a daring originality which makes its last pages among the most startlingly moving I know
One of the best novels of the 20th century
That definitive epic of German family life
If you're disappointed not to be going away this summer, console yourself with these disastrous trips from fiction. They'll make a fortnight on the sofa all the more enticing.