Siddhartha is a story of self-discovery, taking place at the time of the Buddha.
Siddhartha, the protagonist, searches for enlightenment in many different places — in asceticism, in materialism, in love, in speaking directly with the Buddha. Although these experiences don’t answer his questions, they do teach him vital lessons that guide him onwards on his journey.
Hermann Hesse wrote the book in the 1920s, after a period of intense study of The Upanishads and other Hindu and Buddhist texts. If (like me) you’re far from an expert on those topics then you’ll probably find the book to be an interesting dipping of your toes into some Hindu and Buddhist ideas. Plus the story is great, with beautiful imagery and a sense of calmness throughout the book — reading it felt like my brain was taking a bath.