I got to the end of the Glass Bead Game, finally! And boy… did it disappoint.
The final 20% of the book is several poems and three short stories written by the character whose life we just got a long, tired account of. Two of the three stories were actually really good and I thought the book was going to redeem itself with these, since a lot of what made them good was what you learned about the character who supposedly wrote them. But then.
The third and final story, and finale of the book ends with
IT WAS ALL A DREAM
Yes. Seriously. The climax of the story is that a huge portion of the characters life was all a dream/vision and he had some kind of epiphany from this that life itself is pointless and nothing but struggle and pain, so he recedes from life to be a hermit and focus on inner peace.
But come on! Any storyteller should know that this as a climax is awful. If it had not been the FINAL story, and literal end to this book, it wouldn’t have been a terrible story. But as a climax, this is very disappointing and I’d expect an experienced writer to know better.
Yes it was written in the 40’s, and maybe this kind of end wasn’t such an overused trope at the time, but that doesn’t excuse it, as it is just as annoying the first time you experience it.
Anyway. Now it’s finally over and I can stop complaining about it. On to the next thing!