This is a novel Thomas Mann began when a young man and finished when an old man. He said he didn’t have the strength needed to keep up the tone of the novel when he was young. When you read this strange, delightful, exciting novel you’ll know what he meant.
Felix Krull, the hero/villain, is exuberant and fantastical and irrepressible. To think up such a character requires youth – to create such a being requires patience, persistence, knowledge, energy and incredible skill and competence, in short, a matured genius.
This is the kind of book many great writers have within them but very few ever find the courage to produce. Thomas Mann did his best and gave us – The Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man.
Though the book ends too soon and we feel cheated and bereft – none, I think, will regret having met and loved (and hated) Felix Krull.
(This used to be available in a cheaper edition back when Penguin published more than the most obvious classics… The edition pictured is the only available one I could find.)
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.