THE GLASS BEAD GAME i.e. Magister Ludi by Hermann Hesse can be a companion piece to the existential author's most famous work, Siddhartha, or even a sequel, only set far in the future where Zen Buddhist-types call Life a Glass Bead Game and learn to appreciate it more than figure it out by learning, becoming, being.

The main character learns to meditate in a cave and has no women in his life. He's basically Buddhist. Doesn't take a "Magister" to figure that one out. And it's a great book, very hypnotic, and like The Game itself... never completely makes sense, which is what's so mesmerizing, enigmatic and addictive...

The first part starts like an intentionally vague philosophy course, and then turns into a biography of a great man...

Sometimes particular avenues are mentioned, teased... like spending a weekend in the real world with the non-believer our man debates... only to be quickly rejected, making one wish it wasn't brought up at all since the narrative (a kind of serious satire of historical biographies) does get a bit claustrophobic, and often seems like several possible adventures are abandoned... But Monks (and Priests, for that matter, although this book is very anti-Catholic) are "cloistered", aren't they?

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