This has more plot than some of Mann's recent work, but most American readers will still be inclined to feel that he goes off into long perorations, his dialogue is overburdened with philosophical meanderings, and his story gets lost now and then in the verbiage. On the other hand, there emerges a distinctively detailed period piece, complete with minutiae of custom and way of life in -- presumably -- the mid 19th century on the Continent. A backward glance to a childhood on the Rhine- a childhood in which the seeds of duplicity were sown; then late teens and the failure and suicide of a father whose moral standards had not been unimpeachable- and an effort to cling to the day dreams of glamor in the new life thrust upon him. He tricked the authorities into rejecting him for the army and used the staff job- a lowly one- in a Paris hotel to line his pockets with the connivance of various lovelorn ladies of middle age who admired his Greek god perfection. As this first part of the memoirs draws to a close, our hero is launched on a major deception- posing as a young lord who does not want the round the world trip his parents planned for him, and who sends off our Felix in his place, while he stays in Paris with his lady love. For Felix this is his type of caviar, and the memoirs end with the triumphant conquests of his stay in Lisbon... Tongue in cheek, Thomas Mann has drawn the portrait. The ""confessions"" at this point have more the flavor of boasting. Little of the Mann tradition here, but a reasonably original tale.