Hermann Hesse’s novels are great, mythic structures dealing with the ultimate questions of life. Hesse’s work is a continuing dialogue with himself. The Journey to the East is the story of a youthful pilgrimage that seemingly failed. As the book opens, the narrator is engaged in writing the chronicle of this remembered adventure—the central experience of his youth. As he becomes immersed in retelling the chronicle, the writer realizes that only he has failed, that the youthful pilgrimage continues in a shining and mysterious way.