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The Magic Mountain [Der Zauberberg]
by Thomas Mann
ISBN 0394434587 / 9780394434582 / 0-394-43458-7
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Though surrounded by the beauty of the Swiss Alps, Hans Castorp is an unwitting captive in a tuberculosis sanitarium, under sentence of impending death. Originally admitted for a three week respite, he is betrayed by an X-ray which finds a small, dark patch on his lung. Thus begins a seven-year recuperation. Struck by the many other patients who seem to have resigned themselves, Castorp begins to question his purpose. As he listens to the stories and advice of other inmates and considers his own course of evolution, he realizes that here, in the midst of the dying, he has found life. [via]