March 11, 2017 Novel

The novel Gertrud refers to the early period of the work of Hermann Hesse. The story is dedicated to the drama of a young composer forced to choose between reasonable and emotional approaches to the creativity. The real details of Hesse’s life and features typical for him, given to various characters, give the book a special, profound meaning. What is art? Why an artist is destined to be alone forever? Each of the heroes of the novel of Hesse answers these questions in his own way…

The main character of the novel is composer Kuhn, he was fond of music from early years and after school entered the conservatory. He was not a genius, but, nevertheless, he did not lose hope of becoming a good musician. Kuhn falls in love with the beginning vocalist Liddy and on a winter day he goes sledding with her. As a result of unsuccessful descent from the mountain, the main hero gets injured and remains lame for life. It would seem that it is just a lameness but Kuhn pays to much attention to it, he begins to feel embarrassed and he complains with about it to the reader in each chapter. Over time, learning to draw inspiration from his misfortunes, he creates his first music, trying to find public recognition. The search alternates with suffering about loneliness, and in general the main character is characterized by an excessively strong impressionability, especially iwe can see it when he falls in love with Gertrud. The plot is ordinary, she does not like him, but falls in love with his friend. Although the story covers the whole life of the main hero, from his youth, through adulthood and glory, to old age, but it is told very passively. There are no intrigues or some exciting episodes in it, and there are not so many characters. But it has a lot of creativity and music, at some point you can believe that you are really reading the memoirs of an old composer, because it has magnificent atmosphere.


A tragic story, at the same time filled with such simplicity and light, gives the reader peace and many hours of thoughts about life and love. It has the perfect ending. I fell in love with this novel, in which miraculously, without interfering with each other, there are love and music, pain and happiness. In general, it is a fascinating novel. Perhaps, just because of the storyline, and because of the profound monologue of Kuhn’s father, I will read this book once again.

About the author

Bernhard Kunkle: