Joseph and His Brothers
Joseph and His Brothers is a four-part novel by Thomas Mann, written in 1926-1943 and retelling in detail well-known biblical story of Joseph. So, there are my five facts about Joseph and His Brothers.
Firstly, if you do not know anything about the biblical stories, harvests, droughts and love of Jacob to Rachel, you need firstly to read not Bible, of course, but at least short retelling for children. Because there are different interpretations of the same name, a lot of new new ones on each page – it confuses at the beginning and all you need to remember them is to make schematic maps. And then comes the understanding that you just needn’t to focus on this moment.
My second fact: take this book not as a text to analize, but take it as a story. Like a fairy tale. And, suddenly, it turns out that you can remember the events and you can already, though not like Mann, but quite clearly tell someone about what you have read and what have happened.
Thirdly, I really liked the first part of the book. Much more than the other parts. But it was the most difficut to understand. It was necessary to understand how to be involved in what is happening. Only the first twenty pages were re-read by me for several times. Although, in the end, probably, they were the best ones. Because the author’s view of the Fall, the role of God in it and in the other first misdemeanors of man is exactly how I see the Old Testament and why I do not understand the New Testament. And the story of Jacob and Rachel is one of the most romantic and honest events in this book.
Fourthly, perhaps I already do not remember the original source, but it seemed to me that the retelling was not only filled with the author’s views and interesting interpretations of what had been described for a long time, but also supplemented with colorful descriptions of what had been omitted. And these additional descriptions make this legend more real. At the same time helping to look at thing from another angle.
And finally, Thomas Mann is recognized in every line of this tetralogy. If you have already read any of his works and it was difficult to you – be ready, it will not be easier for sure, I would even say more difficult. There will be a special atmosphere – ideally suited exactly the story that the author tells you. Not always easy, very often too long, but such that it is difficult to stop reading.